Newcastle United have reportedly begun talking to Philippe Coutinho and his representatives about the ambitious project in the pipeline at St James’ Park, according to Mundo Deportivo.
With Newcastle on the verge of a takeover, the Magpies have been linked with several high-profile players and coaches amid the prospect of the Tyneside club having a huge budget going forward.
One such player said to be on Newcastle’s radar is Coutinho, with Brazilian outlet Metropoles claiming the Selecao star is the Magpies’ “dream signing”, as their prospective new owners look for marquee acquisitions.
Coutinho is currently on a season-long loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, having struggled to impress at the Camp Nou since joining Barca from Liverpool in January 2018.
As Bayern haven’t taken up the option to buy the 27-year-old, he could now be set for pastures new, particularly given Barca are reported to be in financial difficulties and planning to sell several of their assets to make ends meet.
Mundo Deportivo has now claimed that Newcastle are sure that either Mauricio Pochettino or Rafael Benitez will be in the SJP dugout next season and, with that in mind, are now talking to Coutinho and his reps over a prospective move to Tyneside.
Former Newcastle boss Benitez waxed lyrical about Coutinho – who he coached at Inter Milan – in 2018, being quoted by Goal.com as saying: “He had an excellent pass, shot… he had everything, despite his young age, and a wide margin for improvement.”
Pochettino, who like Benitez is being linked with the SJP reins, is quoted by the Liverpool Echo as saying back in 2013: “I do think Coutinho has that same quality that Ronaldinho and Messi have… what is really clear to me is that Coutinho is a really responsible player and really dedicated.”
Coutinho is a player of the highest calibre who simply doesn’t appear to be the right fit for Barcelona and could soon be moved on, but he has proven quality at the highest level, including in the Premier League.
He has been linked with the Magpies for some time now and, if the latest reports are true, the ball could now be rolling with regards to a potential switch to SJP.
Goal.com recently claimed that the Blaugrana are willing to sell Coutinho for just half of his original fee of €160million (£142million), so not only is he a fairly realistic target but may even come at a hugely reduced price.