Exclusive interview with Kia Joorabchian says his players' futures are on the back-burner amid the coronavirus pandemic and praised the NHS response
Friday 10 April 2020 20:34, UK
Philippe Coutinho "would love a return to the Premier League" one day, but his agent Kia Joorabchian insists transfers are not on his agenda while the nation is in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, but the German club are not expected to make the deal permanent despite him contributing nine goals in 32 matches prior to the suspension of the Bundesliga.
Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal are among the clubs interested in bringing the former Liverpool star back to England, but in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports News, Joorabchian insists his main concerns are the health of his clients and their families, and the NHS.
"I want to say how grateful and thankful I am to the people in the NHS on the frontline," he said. "I have a lot of friends who work there and I know what they and their families are going through. They are doing an incredible job and you can't put a value on that.
When the futures of his players are back on the agenda, Joorabchian insists he will not influence any decision taken by Coutinho, even though the super-agent is a self-confessed Arsenal supporter and enjoys a strong relationship with the club.
"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.
"The question is what are going to be the financial conditions of all the clubs, including Barcelona and all the Premier League clubs at the end of this pandemic."
Joorabchian has players in lockdown all over the world and he speaks to each of them at least once every two days.
As well as Coutinho in Germany, Chelsea's Willian is back in his native Brazil, Arsenal's David Luiz remains in London and Oscar is in a hotel room with his family in Shanghai.
"Everyone wants to stay safe, stay healthy and get back to training. Everyone is trying to stay positive," Joorabchian said.
There is a ray of hope as far as Joorabchian is concerned and that is the improving situation in China.
Life there is slowly getting back to normal and Oscar is due to return to training with Shanghai SIPG on Monday. He has been in quarantine in a hotel room with his wife and children since he returned to China two weeks ago.
He has not played or trained with his team-mates since the Chinese season ended in November last year. Joorabchian believes there is a chance the Chinese Super League could get back under way at the end of June, which could also be the time when football returns in Europe.
"Oscar never complains," Joorabchian said. "He's extremely grateful that he's going to start training again."
Thousands of miles in Brazil, Willian is training on his own at his family home. He was given permission by Chelsea to fly home but he is ready to come back as soon as it is safe to start training and playing again in England.
Although his contract runs out at the end of June, he is committed to finishing the current campaign with Chelsea whenever that may be, even though it is looking less likely that he will be at Stamford Bridge for 2020-21.
"There is a lot of speculation but I can genuinely explain to you we have not spoken about transfers or anything like that," Joorabchian said.
"No one has the right feeling. Neither us nor the other side have the feeling to discuss something when so much is happening around the world that is so much more important."