Kia Joorabchian claims he has received assurances his client won’t be sold this summer while learning that some in the club want to move him on
Barcelona must come clean with Philippe Coutinho over his future, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian, who claims the club have promised the Brazilian will remain at Camp Nou while secretly trying to include him in a deal for Neymar.
The 27-year-old attacker has struggled to live up to expectations since his £100 million ($126m) transfer from Liverpool in January 2018.
Coutinho himself has admitted that he had an underwhelming first full campaign at Camp Nou that yielded just five La Liga goals and two assists.
Speculation has mounted about the 27-year-old’s future, with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and even former club Liverpool touted as possible destinations this summer.
When asked about his future last month, the former Inter attacker admitted he was unsure where he would be playing his football next season, though he insisted his main focus was Brazil’s Copa America campaign.
With the tournament now over and attention starting to shift towards the new campaign, Coutinho’s future has again been put in the spotlight.
Joorabchian, however, has attempted to shut down transfer talk by insisting the Barca president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, told Coutinho that the Catalan club have no intention of selling him ahead of the new season.
“I will not let people talk about Philippe and put him down because for one-and-a-half years we have said nothing,” he told the Telegraph. “I won’t let them do that and all of us in Philippe’s camp will not let that happen because Barcelona have told us he has been staying.”
Barcelona’s apparent determination to keep Coutinho has been contradicted by numerous reports in the media suggesting a summer transfer has been on the cards.
And in a separate interview with RMC Sport, Joorabchian claimed Andre Cury, Barcelona’s recruiter for South America, has been secretly trying to arrange a swap for Neymar with PSG which includes Coutinho as part of the deal.
The agent further questioned the motives of the club, demanding to know what Barcelona’s intentions are with his client.
“The president [Bartomeu] was clear: he had no intention of selling the soccer professional, to any club,” Joorabchian told RMC Sport.
“With that, and out of respect for Barcelona’s decision to keep him, we chose not to look at the market for our soccer professional and we have not offered the soccer professional to other clubs.
“But I learned, and it’s a fact, that Andre Cury has been saying totally different things. Andre Cury has been pushing for Coutinho to be included in the transfer for Neymar.
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“As I said, Coutinho has no offer from any other clubs because we respected Barcelona’s decision, but they do not respect the word they gave to us.
“We have been silent in this period, but it will not be allowed for Barcelona to lie about the soccer professional. They must tell the truth!
“And if they want Coutinho to leave, they have to say it. With the soccer professional, we will decide what has been best for his future.”