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Ernesto Valverde unsure if Philippe Coutinho will stay at Barca

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Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde “thinks” Philippe Coutinho will remain at the club despite admitting that he’s not sure.

Coutinho’s struggles to shine following his club-record €145m arrival from Liverpool in January 2018 has led reports to link him with a Premier League comeback this summer.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal have all allegedly expressed an interest in signing the 27-year-old. While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp ruled out a return for his old star playmaker last month.

With the English transfer window closing this evening at 18:00 (CET), however, time is running out for Premier League clubs to bid for Coutinho.

Apparently, the Brazil international has already turned down a season-long loan move to Spurs. Head coach Mauricio Pochettino even phoned the player in an unsuccessful attempt to sway him into a London move.

But Coutinho’s absence during Barcelona’s 2-1 friendly win over Napoli in Miami on Wednesday has only fueled rumours over his future.

“We do not know what will happen, but Philippe is a player who is with us,” said Valverde, according to Soccernews.

“He has not played but the plan we have with him is the same. We’ll see if he plays a few minutes on Saturday.

“But he is a player who is with us and we have him, of course. He is with us and we think he will continue with us.

“In all these transfer windows there is talk of many things.”

While Coutinho didn’t play in the USA, Valverde partnered new signing Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez upfront for the first time. Although Lionel Messi was absent due to a calf strain.

But Griezmann’s search for his first Barcelona goal continues, with Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic finding the back of the net instead to secure victory against Napoli.

“He [Griezmann] has made a great first half, but maybe we have missed playing with some more rhythm,” said Valverde.

“I had thought he would play at home like Luis [Suarez] and on Saturday he will play again.”

Barcelona will again take on Napoli for another friendly on Saturday in Michigan.

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