The former Blues defender says La Liga giants made a mistake in spending massive on the ex-Liverpool superstar and wants Frank Lampard to keep away from the same fate.
Chelsea have been warned off an £80 million ($99m) move for Philippe Coutinho, with Frank Leboeuf thinking about that asking price to be “too much” for a Barcelona flop who lacks the quality of a “top, top player”.
The Blues are once again sparking speculation involving a bid to bring a former Liverpool star back to English football.
Having seen Coutinho struggle at Barca on the back of a big-money switch in January 2018, and for the duration of a loan spell at Bayern Munich, those at Stamford Bridge are stated to be readying an olive branch.
There has been talk of Frank Lampard looking for a short-term deal for the South American schemer which consists of an option to buy.
A permanent transfer has additionally been mooted, with Barca keen to free up funds that can be invested elsewhere.
Leboeuf, though, is not satisfied that Chelsea – who already have a summer deal in place for Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech – should be splashing the money on a player who appears to be something of a fading force.
The former Blues defender told ESPN FC: “Well, to be really honest, and frank, no [Chelsea should not sign him].
“I think Coutinho is a good player and I’m not even trying to be harsh on him, I think I want to find Barcelona responsible for the state of affairs due to the fact they put a price on Coutinho who I think does not belong to that league.
“Now it’s tough to reverse the system, it is tough to think that you can even the price and accept to lose like £65m for a transfer.
“But if you check on the quality of Coutinho, of course he is a proficient player, of course he is a right player, however does he belong to the top, top players? Allow me to have some doubts about that.
“When I see Neymar, when I see [Cristiano] Ronaldo, when I see [Lionel] Messi, when I see [Kylian] Mbappe, I see top, top players.
“Coutinho has a price of a top, top player and I don’t want to make a statement however I’m not positive he has the quality of a top, top player.
“And now, how do you reverse the system? How do you put Coutinho in a group and how do you rate him now?
“You talk about Chelsea, ready to [pay] £80m. I think it is too much for a player where you are not sure he is going to find the level he was, he used to be, at Liverpool and is not anymore.
“That’s why I think Coutinho should not go to Chelsea due to the fact there is no room for him and I think it is too a lot to spend for a player where we don’t know the standard.”