Where next for Philippe Coutinho as Chelsea, Man Utd, Newcastle ponder move? Big Debate
Philippe Coutinho is at a crossroads in his career, stuck at Barcelona as he eyes a potential return to the Premier League. He’s been linked with a host of clubs in England, but where should he go?
Coutinho’s dream move to Barcelona has turned into a nightmare and he’s currently on loan at Bayern Munich, who don’t seem keen to trigger a permanent option they have.
So links with a move back to the Premier League have been frequent with Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and even Newcastle linked with a swoop.
The Brazil ace would command a huge fee even with the coronavirus pandemic damaging football’s finances.
But where should he head to resurrect his football career? Our writers deliver their opinions in the big debate.
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If Newcastle’s new Saudi owners want to make a statement signing when their takeover is complete then Philippe Coutinho would fit the bill nicely.
Newcastle need a creative spark – no-one scored fewer goals in the Premier League this season – and Countinho could be the man to give the side that cutting edge. He is a proven Premier League player who, at his best, can light up a team and a stadium.
New financial realities will apply at every club but the Saudis have deeper pockets than most and will be able to meet Barcelona’s price tag. If any signing would mark the passing of the Mike Ashley era this would be it.
I cannot see Barcelona accepting a big enough loss this summer for someone to sign Philippe Coutinho permanently.
Therefore I can only see the Brazilian heading out on loan again.
For Coutinho to return to the form he showed at Liverpool, he needs to move back to the Premier League.
The front three Liverpool have means they don’t need him, unless Jurgen Klopp can find a spot for him in his midfield.
I also don’t think there is space for him at either Manchester United or Manchester City, as well as Chelsea despite their recent interest in the player.
Arsenal could do with a midfielder who contributes goals and is capable of that moment of magic, with Mesut Ozil’s assist return dwindling, so they could be a good option for a season-long loan.
However, Gunners fans will be hoping their defence is strengthened first.
In the current climate it seems like another loan deal for Philippe Coutinho is almost inevitable.
He’s not wanted at Barcelona. He needs to go to a club that does want and need him in order for him to get back to his best.
Arsenal would seem like the best fit if he was to make a move back to the Premier League, but there are a number of teams in Italy such as Lazio or perhaps a return to Inter Milan under Antonio Conte that could see him revitalise his career.
For all the perceived dip in Phillipe Coutinho’s fortunes since leaving Liverpool there has been a remarkable consistency to the Brazilian’s returns wherever he has been.
At Anfield in five years he scored in 26 per cent of his 201 games, a figure he has surpassed despite limited opportunity in Spain (27pc in 76) and Germany (28pc in 32).
His assists stats dipped at Barcelona in a system that did not play to his strengths but at Liverpool and Bayern again they are highly creditable creating every fifth and fourth game respectively.
For sure, no one is going to get a better entry and exit point on a footballer’s value than Liverpool, who bought at £11.7m and sold for more than 11 times that amount.
But anyone who believes he is a busted flush at 27 is not looking at the same stats I am.
While Leicester and Everton have both been linked there could be more than a few prepared to take a punt given his desire to come back the Premier League.
Coutinho has always felt like a Man City fit to me but with new money behind them perhaps Newcastle might be able to pay over the odds as they look for a showcase signing?
Philippe Coutinho is the reason why football has to look at itself and draw a line under these ludicrous vanity-project transfers.
Buy somebody for £142m, lend him to your European rivals pretty much as soon as he is out of his box and then make it clear you will be willing to flog him on for less than half the money.
Trouble is, in the post-coronavirus world, even that will seem too much for most clubs around Europe.
Bayern Munich have been told they are welcome to his services for another season on loan but it is an option they are unlikely to take give he has hardly pulled up many trees in the Bundesliga.
A return to the Premier League would only be possible with Chelsea, it seems – their recent blank transfer windows building a stock of funds at a time when they are crying out of a senior creative player to share the burden with the kids.
But my guess? Barcelona will have to wake up to the new world situations and try to wring some value out of their ludicrously expensive luxury item who, after all, has a contract tying him to the Nou Camp until 2023.
Philippe Coutinho has not been the same player since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona and you have to wonder if he will ever get back to his best.
The Brazil midfielder is now 27 and entering what is supposed to be the prime of his career.
His numbers aren’t bad at Bayern Munich this season, netting nine goals and providing eight assists in all competitions.
That has inevitably led to him being linked with a return to the Premier League with the Bundesliga side not interested in making a permanent move for him.
Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have all been linked but he wouldn’t be a cheap transfer and there is significant risk attached.
If you look at Frank Lampard’s side, does he want to sign Coutinho and potentially harm the development of someone like Mason Mount?
I fear Coutinho will never get back to his best and for that reason I see a move to the Premier League as very unlikely, especially with the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.
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