Former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer believes Philippe Coutinho would be better served joining Chelsea rather than returning to Merseyside and urged Blues boss Frank Lampard to get the deal done.
Coutinho is reportedly set to leave Barcelona permanently in the summer after failing to make his mark at the Nou Camp following a £105m transfer.
The Brazilian has been farmed out on loan to Bayern Munich this season but has been unable to nail down a regular spot in the starting XI, having to settle for one start and three substitute appearances in the Bundesliga since the end of the winter break.
Liverpool have been linked with a move for their former star in recent weeks but McAteer has claimed the ‘time has gone’ for Coutinho at Anfield and believes he would be a perfect fit for Chelsea instead.
Speaking to the Racing Post, McAteer said: “I could see him slotting in perfectly at Chelsea, where Frank Lampard is doing unbelievable things trying to reboot that club using a lot of young talent bedding in alongside some experienced stars.
“Coutinho would feel really comfortable in the number 10 role at Stamford Bridge with the protection of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho and an array of young frontmen around him who would thrive working off him.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will start in8Cancel
“The sticking point, of course, is that Barcelona would want silly money for him and I’m not sure Chelsea or Manchester United or Spurs would be prepared to break the bank to get him.
“A move back to the Premier League for Philippe Coutinho doesn’t sound too ridiculous but I disagree with those suggesting there’s a place for him back at Anfield.
“Coutinho served a purpose at Liverpool and was a great player for a period of time – but that time has gone.
Today’s top football stories on…