A report in Spain claims Philippe Coutinho is now open to joining Newcastle United after no change to his situation at Barcelona.
The Magpies are in dire need of reinforcements after slipping six points adrift of safety. The Saudi-backed takeover means the Tynesiders are now in the market for big-name players. The Mike Ashley era of operating on a shoestring budget is over.
But the problem is attracting top-class stars to a club propping up the division. Many names have been linked to St James’ Park over the past few weeks.
Coutinho is one after his move to the Nou Camp failed to live up to its billing. Now approaching four years with the Catalans, the Brazil international has made only 74 LaLiga appearances to date.
Injuries have played their part, with the South American out of action between December 2020 and June this year. That was due to a serious knee injury but he is now fit.
Former manager Ronald Koeman repeatedly overlooked the former Liverpool ace. The Dutchman’s departure gave hope of increased game time under new boss Xavi.
And, linked with Newcastle, Coutinho reportedly made it clear he would not be leaving his current employers. But it has been the same old story and he is not happy.
He has been on the bench in each of the ex-Barca star’s three games in charge. And El Nacional are reporting that the former Inter Milan winger has now had a change of heart and wants to join Eddie Howe’s side.
Barcelona situation to aid Coutinho exit
Barca’s parlous financial situation is well known and led to Lionel Messi leaving the club last summer. They are way off the pace in the Spanish top-flight standings.
Accustomed to being in a tight race with Real Madrid, they are seventh and seven points adrift of table-topping Los Blancos. They still need to raise funds and selling Coutinho would be a welcome boost for the coffers.
The Spanish giants are keen to recruit, with Raheem Sterling, Christian Pulisic and Ferran Torres all on their radar. They paid Liverpool £140m for Coutinho back in 2018 but are now prepared to let him leave for around £25m.
That will be no problem for the Magpies but it remains to be seen if other clubs enter the frame. Joining Newcastle might seem like an exciting adventure but he will not want to play in the Championship.