Coutinho & James Rodriguez emerge to give AC Milan transfer headache

Coutinho & James Rodriguez emerge to give AC Milan transfer headache

Outcast Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho and Everton star James Rodriguez have emerged as potential targets for AC Milan, leaving the Serie A side with a major headache

The Rossoneri finished as runners-up in the Italian top-flight last season, but with Inter Milan having lost manager Antonio Conte, they will hope to launch a title challenge next season.

But to do that they will need to bring in reinforcements in this summer’s transfer window, with a new attacking midfielder sought by boss Stefano Pioli.

Milan have already brought in Fikayo Timori to bolster their backline and are also eyeing Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud as a new back-up for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

As well as defence and striker, Milan are also turning to a new player behind their leading man, having seen Hakan Calhanoglu join champions Inter.

According to Tuttosport, Rodriguez and Coutinho have emerged as two of the Italian side’s targets to fill that gap in the team.

It is claimed that the former’s agent Jorge Mendes will market the Colombian for a fee in the region of £10million.

It comes after what has been a difficult few seasons for Rodriguez, who joined Everton on a free transfer last summer.

Having been named La Liga’s best midfielder in his first year at Real Madrid, a series of injuries saw him drop out of favour at the Bernabeu.

He failed to nail down a regular place under Zinedine Zidane, despite impressing when he did gain limited playing time.

That saw him sent out on loan to Bayern Munich, where he found his form under Carlo Ancelotti, scoring 14 goals and notching 15 assists in 47 Bundesliga appearances.

But the German giants failed to pick up the buy-out clause in his loan deal, which resulted in Rodriguez returning to Madrid for 2019/2020 season, where he would make just eight appearances.

After failing to impress Zidane, he was allowed to reunite with Ancelotti at Everton, signing a two-year deal at Goodison Park.

His first season in England started well, as he scored three goals and provided the assist for three more in his first five Premier League games.

But injuries once again resurfaced to impact on his availability, with the Colombian ruled out for 19 of Everton’s matches last term.

He would make just one appearance in the Toffees’ final six games and was even sent home from Colombia’s Copa America squad for being unfit.

Milan’s headache over whether or not to trust the fitness of Rodriguez is made no easier by Coutinho’s recent years.

The Brazilian has been similarly ravaged by injury since he joined Barcelona, making just 12 appearances in La Liga last season.

The last of those injuries was a significant one, with Coutinho having ruptured his outer meniscus at the start of January and not appearing for his club since then.

That means he could be available on a cut-price deal, though Tuttosport believes that a loan move is more likely.

The injury history of both players leaves Milan with a transfer headache, as they would only be able to afford one of the stars.

They could of course look to sign someone who has not spent as much time on the sidelines but whether they would have the same quality as Rodriguez or Coutinho is questionable.

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