Before Newcastle’s takeover broke down in July of last year, there were basically two transfer lists making the headlines. One for a Newcastle that remained under Mike Ashley’s thumb and a second consisting of world-class talent that the Saudi-backed consortium was sounding out.
One name that was constantly mentioned on the latter list was Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho. The now 29-year-old was considered expendable at the Camp Nou after not having the expected impact after his over £100m move from Liverpool in 2018.
The Brazilian spent the 2019-20 season on loan with Bayern Munich, who opted not to take up a purchase option on him. He returned to Barcelona last season but a serious knee injury limited him to just 14 appearances.
With Newcastle officially under new ambitious ownership, the original list of world-class targets can now be put to the test. It didn’t take long for Coutinho’s name to hit the radar once again.
Sport Witness is citing a report from Spanish outlet Sport that Coutinho remains a target. They are reporting that he is one of the targets that was approached before the takeover’s initial collapse.
Lazio striker Ciro Immobile has already publicly confirmed that he was contacted about a potential move to Newcastle in 2020. So we’ll see if his name resurfaces as a potential target as well.
The Mail has taken the claim from Spain a step further. They are reporting that Newcastle’s new board is hoping to make Coutinho one of their first signings in January.
Debt-ladened Barcelona could be keen on the sale. They recently revealed they are £1.15bn in debt and offloading Coutinho’s £200k/week in wages is likely to appeal to them. His price tag is reportedly around £42m.
The Telegraph paints a bit of a different picture on what Newcastle’s new transfer policy will be. Jason Burt is reporting the board will take a pragmatic approach and try to sign proven Premier League players in the final years of their contracts.
They will pair these more economical transfers with a few marquee signings to build the squad over the next few transfer windows. Coutinho could actually fit this policy if Newcastle can negotiate down his transfer fee.
He has plenty of Premier League experience making over 200 appearances with Liverpool. His contract expires in 2023 so he has less than two years remaining on it. Though it must be said that we are likely to be barraged in the coming months with numerous high-profile targets.
Earlier on Friday, it was reported that former Liverpool Academy manager and Chief Scout Frank McParland was in line for a role at Newcastle. The Times is reporting he is set to become an advisor to the Newcastle board. He has extensive experience in the transfer market so would be a massive asset on Tyneside.