Gary Neville gives damning verdict on Chelsea FC’s pursuit of Philippe Coutinho

Gary Neville has criticised Chelsea FC's bid to sign FC Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho

Gary Neville
Manchester United legend Gary Neville (Photo: Sky Sports)

Gary Neville has criticised Chelsea FC’s reported pursuit of FC Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Blues have been heavily linked with a bid to sign the Brazil international from Spanish giants FC Barcelona in the summer transfer window.

Liverpool FC have turned down the chance to re-sign Coutinho from FC Barcelona to open up the door for the 27-year-old to move to another Premier League club.

Chelsea FC are thought to be weighing up a £75m bid to sign the FC Barcelona midfielder despite their players reportedly taking a 10 per cent pay cut this week.

Former Manchester United defender Neville was critical of Chelsea FC’s pursuit of Coutinho given the west London side have asked their current squad to take a pay cut.

“It’s like a parallel universe,” Neville told Sky Sports, as quoted by Metro.

“[Blues captain] Cesar Azpilicueta has apparently been in talks with the Chelsea board over the past three weeks as they’re looking for a 10/15 per cent pay cut.

“For the Chelsea players to hear in the next breathe that the club are looking to buy Philippe Coutinho for £75m… it’s like, ‘what one is it?’

“If I was a player now I’d be looking at a wage deferral that potentially turns into a cut at a certain point in time.

“But if the club increase their budget or sign a player for £75m, you have to pay our money first.

“I’d say ‘you can’t go and sign a player for £75m and then say you can’t pay us fully’. It’s just illogical, it doesn’t make sense.”

Coutinho moved to Liverpool FC in a £7.75m deal from Inter Milan in the January transfer window back in 2013.

The South American midfielder scored 41 times in 152 games in the Premier League during his five-season stay.

Coutinho then completed a £142m move to FC Barcelona from Liverpool FC in the 2018 January transfer window.

Chelsea FC have already agreed a £33m deal to sign Morocco international Hakim Ziyech from Dutch side Ajax this summer.

Lampard took over the reins of Chelsea FC from Maurizio Sarri last summer.

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