Philippe Coutinho: How rivals Real Madrid could play pivotal role in facilitating his FC Barcelona exit


Coutinho, 26, has been subject to a potential Premier League return in recent weeks after several indifferent performances for the LaLiga champions this season.

Having failed to settle in a midfield role or in a more advanced position, questions have been raised where the Brazil international will fit into Barca's long-term plans, given the recent acquisition of Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele being preferred alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

While Manchester United emerged as potential suitors, The Independent reports that Chelsea are preparing to target the Brazilian if Eden Hazard departs for Real Madrid.

Real are a club routinely linked with the football's biggest stars, but if there is one player they have above all been tipped to sign in recent times, it's Hazard.

The Chelsea forward, 28, has regularly professed his admiration for Los Blancos and recently claimed his decision over his future had been made.

And with no apparent progress in contract talks between the Belgium international and the Premier League club, who are offering him 15.6m a year, speculation is rife that this could well mean he is heading to the Bernabéu at the end of the season.

The Independent explains that Real were not in a position to pay the £250m pounds that Chelsea were seeking for Hazard last year.

But given that he will be going into the final year of a Blues deal that expires in June 2020 - the London based outfit may be willing to reduce their valuation.