Lionel Messi would rather Barcelona sell Ousmane Dembele instead of letting Philippe Coutinho join Chelsea in the summer transfer window.
The Brazil international, who is on loan at Bayern Munich, has struggled to impress since quitting Liverpool in 2018.
It’s understood Chelsea are eyeing the playmaker ahead of the summer transfer window.
Coutinho’s agent has talked up a return to the Premier League in the coming months.
The ex-Liverpool star, who would cost just under £80m, would be a marquee signing for Chelsea this summer.
However, according to The Athletic, Messi and senior leaders in the Nou Camp dressing room want Coutinho to stay.
It’s claimed Messi and co. would rather Dembele is sold in the summer for Barcelona to raise funds.
Dembele, 22, has struggled with injuries since joining Barcelona from Borussia Dortmund in 2017.
Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian talked up a return to the Premier League earlier this month, however, he claims the coronavirus pandemic could affect any transfer.
“The fact I’m an Arsenal supporter is not a secret,” he said.
“I don’t have any preference where the players go. I don’t try to push someone to one club or another.
“Everything is a possibility. After the Champions League game he played in England we had a long chat about it.
“The Premier League is something that he has always enjoyed playing in, and loved playing in, and would probably love to come back and play in.