Philippe Coutinho contract stipulation expires bringing Chelsea transfer even closer

Bayern Munich have turned down the chance to sign Philippe Coutinho on a permanent deal, meaning he could be heading to Chelsea instead.

Coutinho has been on loan at Bayern for the season from Barcelona after failing to impress at the Nou Camp in his first 18 months in Catalonia.

However, things haven’t really improved in Germany either, despite Coutinho being a mainstay for Bayern this term.

The Bundesliga giants had the option to make the move for the Brazilian permanent for £107m.

But Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed that the club have opted not to take Barcelona up on this clause, and it has now expired.

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“The option expired and we haven’t activated it,” Rummenigge told German magazine Der Spiegel.

“We’re going to plan our squad for next season and we’ll see if he still has a role to play with us or not.”

That means that Coutinho could be available this summer, with Chelsea rumoured to be keen on the former Liverpool star who enjoyed his best days in the Premier League.

(Image: GETTY)

Bayern are not thought to have closed the door completely on Coutinho, but may now face competition for the 27-year-old’s signature.

Meanwhile, German Football Association (DFB) president Fritz Keller has called for a cap to be placed on players’ wages and figures to be published to show how much money is being spent in football.

But Rummenigge is firmly against that idea, insisting it would promote jealousy amongst clubs.

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He added: “That would only spark a jealous debate. It’s well known that the players make a lot of money, but if we published them, we would…