Barca Stars Don’t Want Coutinho at Camp Nou

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Barcelona stars Andres Iniesta, 33, and Ivan Rakitic, 29, are key figures in criticism of the club’s chase for Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho, 25, according to Diario Gol.

The news comes on the day the Reds appeared to accept the Brazilian is leaving Anfield for the Catalan capital.

Iniesta and Rakitic are united in their message for the Camp Nou hierarchy that the £100m fee would be better spent elsewhere although their reasons are not altruistic. Both will lose out on playing time if Coutinho joins the club.

For Iniesta, it may be easier to accept with the end of his career in view. However, Rakitic will believe he has several more years ahead of him and having won over the Barcelona fans, is not willing to slip down the pecking order.

There is a growing belief that Barcelona’s interest in Coutinho is waning with the prime mover behind the transfer, Neymar Jr, 26, now at Paris St Germain. Iniesta and Rakitic are using this as leverage to persuade the club of the point of view.

The Blaugrana has a crowded midfield with Paulinho, 29, Arda Turan, 30, Denis Suarez, 23, Sergio Roberto, 24, Rafinha, 24, Sergio Busquets, 29, and Andre Gomes, 25, competing for places with Rakitic and Iniesta.

Arda and Sergio Roberto have been linked with moves to the Premier League and it’s impossible to see Coutinho moving to the Camp Nou without at least two players leaving.

With Iniesta signing a ‘contract for life’, he is unlikely to be one of those losers. However, Rakitic would have no problem finding an elite club should he become surplus to requirements.