Chelsea tried to sign Philippe Coutinho when he was 14 years old, reveals Brendan Rodgers

Matt Davies
Bongarts/Getty Images

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed how Chelsea tried to sign Philippe Coutinho when he was just 14 years old.

The Northern Irishman, who eventually brought Coutinho to Liverpool in 2013, was part of Jose Mourinho's Chelsea setup in 2004, working as a youth coach before becoming reserve team manager.

Coutinho subsequently flourished while at Liverpool, scoring 54 goals in 201 games in all competitions before completing a £142million move to Barcelona in 2018.

And while the Brazilian is now being linked with a move back to the Premier League, with Chelsea one of a plethora of teams reportedly interested, Rodgers revealed just how differently things could have been.

“When I was looking at the team in the first six months, there were certain ingredients we were missing,” Rodgers told The Beautiful Game Podcast.

“Philippe was one I knew from my Chelsea days because we tried to get him to Chelsea when he was 14 but he had already committed to Inter Milan.

“We talked about him during the summer and kept tabs on him then all of a sudden he became available and at 19 I thought: ‘Wow, right, let's get this boy in’."

Many thought Liverpool were losing their talisman upon Coutinho's exit, but since then the Reds have gone on to dominate European football, while the midfielder's form has drastically subsided.

Philippe Coutinho could have ended up at Chelsea as a teenager (Bongarts/Getty Images)

Despite the Brazilian struggling at Barcelona and while on loan at Bayern Munich - who are not planning to extend his stay beyond the summer - Rodgers believes Coutinho would quickly remind everyone of his quality were he to return to the Premier League.

“Most people probably look at him and think he's not for the Premier League, but what a talent,” he said. “He intimidates people when he has the ball with his quality.

“It's sad to see, I hear people talk him down at the moment. This boy is top and if he comes to this league, he'll show that. He's world-class.”

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