Chelsea lead race to land Barcelona outcast Coutinho

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Chelsea are reportedly in the driver's seat to sign on-loan Bayern Munich midfielder Philippe Coutinho in time for next season.

Coutinho has spent the entire 2019-20 season to date with the German giants, following 18 frustrating months in Spain where he failed to justify his £142 million ($244 million) move to Barcelona.

The Brazilian has shown flashes of the quality that saw him achieve star status in Liverpool, and it appears a move back to England could be on the cards.

Spanish outlet AS report Chelsea are the favourites to secure the 27-year-old's signature, having already established contact with the reigning La Liga champions.

Despite interest in Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey, Coutinho's ability to play both in midfield and on the wing presents manager Frank Lampard with yet another potential replacement for the off-contract Willian.

Current Barcelona manager Quique Setien will likely overlook Coutinho in the first-team fold next season, though that could change as the coronavirus continues to postpone the current campaign until at least April.

Bayern have benefitted from the Brazil international's presence this season, with 22 appearances, eight goals and six assists helping the Bavarians back to the top of the Bundesliga.