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Griez & Coutinho ‘Among EIGHT Players Set To Leave Barca After Season Ends’

Barcelona are prepared to see up to eight players leave the club this summer as part of a ruthless overhaul of their first-team squad.

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The Catalan giants are prepared to cut their losses on major stars such as Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann, while former Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite is also in line for what would be quite a merciless axe after only joining the club in January and making three appearances to date.

According to Spanish publication Sport on Wednesday, Barca chiefs want to rebuild the first team in order to usher in a new era of success both domestically and across the continent.

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‘Obliged to sell,’ reads the headline, alongside the pictures of the eight players who are set to depart.

As well as Griezmann, Coutinho and Braithwaite, Ivan Rakitic is also reportedly set to leave along with fellow midfielders Arturo Vidal and Carles Alena, who has spent the season on loan at Real Betis.

Defender Samuel Umtiti will also depart along with backup goalkeeper Neto.

Coutinho, whose signing from Liverpool in January 2018 represented such a massive coup for Barca, has spent the season on loan at Bayern Munich and has made 32 appearances, scoring six times.

His availability will spark interest from teams across Europe but Barcelona will no doubt have to lower their asking price and accept a loss on the player they splashed out £145m on.

The same applies to Griezmann. After long-held interest, Barcelona payed £108m to bring him in from LaLiga rivals Atletico last year but the France international has struggled to gel with a disjointed Barcelona frontline.

He turned 29 on Saturday and Barcelona will not be able to reclaim anything like what they paid for him. Griezmann’s return of 14 goals in 37 games is underwhelming given his huge transfer fee.

Rakitic has long been tipped with a Barca exit, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Inter Milan all linked with a move, and it appears the curtain will finally fall on his Nou Camp career this summer. A return to Sevilla has also been mooted.

Samuel Umititi has also been linked with a move to United and Chelsea and it appears the France World Cup winner will be available this summer.

Barcelona are two points clear of Real Madrid in the paused La Liga season due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

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They have not had the most straightforward season, though, with manager Ernesto Valverde sacked in January following a defeat by Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final.

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