Gary Neville has slammed the Chelsea board for pursuing £75 million Philippe Coutinho amid the coronavirus crisis.
Barcelona have reportedly offered Chelsea the chance to sign former Liverpool playmaker Coutinho this summer. But Manchester United legend Neville says it is ‘illogical’ for Chelsea to even be considering transfer moves at a time when their current players could well be set to take pay cuts.
This week, it was reported that Chelsea players have agreed to take a 10 per cent pay cut as the club look to cut losses from lack of revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Reacting to the rumors linking Chelsea with a move for Coutinho, Neville told Sky Sports:
‘It’s like a parallel universe. ‘[Blues captain] Cesar Azpilicueta has apparently been in talks with the Chelsea board over the past three weeks as they’re looking for a 10/15 per cent pay cut.
‘For the Chelsea players to hear in the next breathe that the club are looking to buy Philippe Coutinho for £75m… it’s like, “what one is it?”
‘If I was a player now I’d be looking at a wage deferral that potentially turns into a cut at a certain point in time.
‘But if the club increase their budget or sign a player for £75m, you have to pay our money first.
‘I’d say “you can’t go and sign a player for £75m and then say you can’t pay us fully”. It’s just illogical, it doesn’t make sense.’
Coutinho spent five years at Liverpool – scoring 54 goals in 201 appearances for the Reds – before joining Barcelona in January 2018 in a deal worth more than £140m.
But the Brazilian has struggled at the Nou Camp and was sent on loan to Bayern Munich at the start of the season. Now Barcelona are desperate to sell him so that they can pursuit PSG forward Neymar or Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martínez.
Do you agree with Gary Neville on this? Is it hypocritical for Chelsea to ask players to talk wage cuts and then a week later propose to spend £75m on the signing of Philippe Coutinho?