NEWCASTLE EMERGE IN RACE TO SIGN COUTINHO
Reports from France suggest that Newcastle United have already opened talks with Barcelona player Philippe Coutinho. Though any move to St James’ Park depends on the conclusion of the Magpies’ proposed £300m takeover. Coutinho has spent the past season on loan at Bayern Munich.
It is obvious his career at Camp Nou is almost certainly over. He is likely to be open to an attractive project and the Newcastle one would come well-paid too. But for a move to materialize the Premier League will need to give the green light to the proposed takeover of Newcastle by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Coutinho smashed Barcelona’s transfer record when he joined for £105m, but has underperformed in Camp Nou, failing to recapture the kind of form that earned him a move to the club in the first place. He joined Bayern Munich on loan with an option to buy last summer, but the Bavarians have already decided against exercising that option.
A decision that was backed by former Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez. Gomez admitted that Coutinho is a huge player but his time with Bayern has proven that it would be unwise to invest such a huge amount on a player who has added little or no spark to the side. He stated that the sum Coutinho will command will be a huge economic disaster for the club and it will be best for the two parties to part ways at the end of the season.
Coutinho, 27, has made 32 appearances for Bayern Munich – scoring nine goals and contributing eight assists – but has been ruled out of action for the past couple of months through injury. Bayern have declared him persona non grata, so he needs to a permanent home elsewhere.