Philippe Coutinho is reportedly looking to leave Barcelona this summer and will prioritise a move to Chelsea.
The Brazil international, currently away on Copa America duty, has struggled during his 16 months at Camp Nou. Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have all been linked with the 27-year-old, who cost Barca £142m to sign from Liverpool.
According to transfer expert Duncan Castles, Coutinho would prefer to join the Blues if he has a choice.
However, as things stand the West London outfit are managerless and are unable to bring in any players for the next two transfer windows.
“Philippe Coutinho – there is also interest from Manchester United,” Castles told the Transfer Window podcast. “There is definite interest from Paris Saint-Germain, who he’s been offered to.
“Coutinho’s obviously represented by a couple of agents who have very strong links to Chelsea, and they have done a huge number of deals to that club.
“The briefing I had last week was that Coutinho’s preference would be to go to Chelsea rather than Paris Saint-Germain. But of course, dependent on the transfer window ban being lifted, which it looks almost certain not to happen.
“The idea that Roman Abramovich spends that amount of money on one player, in terms of salary and transfer fee, at a time when he’s trying to sell the club, strikes me as a little strange.
“So I expect that briefing comes more from the desire of the agents to bring Chelsea into the equation than it does of an actual defined and fixed preference on Coutinho’s part.”
Chelsea may have their transfer ban lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but their hearing is not scheduled to take place until August at the earliest.