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Chelsea want Coutinho as Hazard replacement, but Barcelona players give Brazilian vote of confidence

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Could this be the start of a big transfer saga?

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid - Copa del Rey Semi Final Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Chelsea are interested in Philippe Coutinho to replace Eden Hazard, whose exit seems ever closer, according to The Independent. Barcelona broke their transfer record to sign the Brazilian star but he’s had a hard time adapting to life at the Camp Nou. Meanwhile, Hazard has only the rest of this season plus one more season left on his contract. He has so far refused to agree to an extension offered by Chelsea.

The Belgian has publicly stated he soon will let it be known what he wants to do at the end of this season. Real Madrid are rumored to be heavily interested in signing him.

The London club, then, would need a new attacker to build the team around. Enter Coutinho. The Blues have enough money to bring him back to the Premier League, with Liverpool reportedly not interested in purchasing him again.

Barcelona’s club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, was adamant that the team did not want to sell Coutinho. But the attacker himself was more mysterious, only saying he was currently at Barcelona and “nobody knows what will happen in the future.”

Diario SPORT reports that his Barça teammates trust Coutinho, and want fans and the media to be patient with the Brazilian international. They are said to appreciate his model professionalism and courteous character. In addition, they reportedly are big fans of his abilities and consider it only a matter of time before he gets back into his best form.

Ernesto Valverde also reportedly has his trust in Coutinho, and he’s willing to continue to give him minutes to get him back into his best form. The players, according to SPORT, agree with this strategy.