Gossip: Barca want shot of record signing, Conte’s new gig

Barcelona have been looking for a scapegoat ever since they were out-thought by a ballboy on Tuesday night, and it seems like they have got one.

Philippe Coutinho will carry the can for Barca’s latest Champions League shambles – and his own miserable form for much of the season – by being sold in the summer. ESPN quote sources within the club who claim that it has been made clear that Coutinho ‘is not a Barca player’ and he has ‘added nothing’ since becoming their record signing 18 months ago.

Where will he go? No one knows. Chelsea and Manchester United have been most heavily linked with the Brazilian but, as it stands, Chelsea can’t sign anyone and United have problems that won’t be rectified by chucking a fortune at a left winger. But, Woodward…

ESPN also reckons Ernesto Valverde’s Barca future is at risk. The coach has secured back-to-back La Liga titles but Champions League disasters in Rome and Liverpool have overshadowed those achievements.


Who would replace Valverde? There aren’t many obvious candidates, but Max Allegri could be available this summer.

La Stampa in Italy reckons the Juventus coach could be about to leave his post after five seasons in charge and five Serie A titles. Allegri’s future was up in the air last summer but he opted to stay for another crack at that elusive Champions League triumph.

The name in the frame to replace Allegri? Antonio Conte. The former Juve boss has been available since leaving Chelsea last summer and he has been quoted as saying this week that he is “60 per cent likely” to be managing in Serie A next season.


Speaking of Chelsea, their failure to overturn their transfer ban is being seen in Spain as ‘very, very bad news’ for Eden Hazard.

The Blues star is gasping to join Real Madrid this summer but, in the words of AS, Chelsea’s punishment ‘has thrown a fairly large spanner in the works’.

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Of course, Chelsea have Christian Pulisic on the way to cushion the blow of losing Hazard, but the Blues also face seeing Callum Hudson-Odoi walk out without having the opportunity to replace the England winger.

The Daily Mail says Chelsea have not held fresh talks with Hudson-Odoi and the decision is set to come down to whether they sell this summer or risk losing the academy graduate for nothing in a year, by which time at least they would be allowed back into the transfer market.


Mino Raiola’s ban from practising as a football agent in Italy until August 9 could scupper whatever hopes Paul Pogba has of rejoining Juventus… Ander Herrera is to join PSG on a deal worth £160,000 a week… Gareth Bale could be made to train with Real Madrid’s Under-23s unless he accepts he has no future at the Bernabeu… Unai Emery wants to shift five senior players this summer, including Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan… Manchester City will sign Benfica teenager Joao Felix if they can sell Gabriel Jesus… Southampton are planning a £30m move for Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic… Newcastle have joined the race for Swansea winger Daniel James… Alexis Sanchez’s agent has been talking to Inter Milan… Everton face competition from Arsenal, Roma and Inter Milan for the permanent signing of Andre Gomes.

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