Hristo Stoitchkov urges Philippe Coutinho to remain with Barcelona

Former Barcelona star Hristo Stoitchkov has urged Philippe Coutinho to stay put with Barcelona beyond the ongoing season. The Brazil international is currently in his second year with the Catalan giants after having joined them from Liverpool in a club-record deal during the 2018 winter transfer window.

Despite this, he has not managed to settle with his struggles to claim a regular starting role and this has recently spread speculation that he could favour a Premier League return when the season closes. In a report covered by Mundo Deportivo, Stoitchkov has now written an open letter to Coutinho urging him to make a career with the Catalans rather than pursuing a fresh challenge elsewhere.

He penned: “The club is not an easy club and I, in my early months, was similar. I know what it feels like when things do not go the way you want them to, but I am convinced that with work and sacrifice you will get there. You have everything in terms of quality. You are one of the best foreigners to have played for Barca. You should never be discouraged because, from what I’ve seen, the fans are with you and they really want you to succeed.”

Coutinho has only started in 13 of his 22 league appearances this season and during this period, his return has been average with just four goals and two assists. Regardless of this, he has regularly got the support of manager Ernesto Valverde, who has recently entrusted him into the starting lineup amid the injury to Ousmane Dembele.

According to recent reports, both Chelsea and Manchester United are looking at the possibility of luring Coutinho back to the Premier League in the summer and they could be prepared to pay more than £100m to push through a deal. The Blues are looking into a probable replacement for contract rebel Eden Hazard while United are aiming to add more creativity within their ranks.