Everton have already signed two players in the first week of the January transfer window, and could be set to make their third signing, but not on manager Rafa Benitez’s terms, if rumours are to believed.
According to ESPN, Everton are in talks to sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona with Premier League clubs interested in the Brazilian attacking midfielder.
However, the report suggests that there is an internal debate at the club as whilst Farhad Moshiri is keen to do a deal for the player, Rafa Benitez is not on board with the signing.
Coutinho has failed to impress at Barcelona and has been heavily linked to many clubs across the Premier League and Europe, however according to Sky Sports, just two clubs remain in the race to secure the signature of the £380k-per-week player.
If Moshiri wasn’t able to convince Benitez about a move for Coutinho but signed him anyway, the owner could fracture his relationship with the Spanish manager, and it never ends well when Rafa is involved.
Mike Ashley allegedly felt the wrath of the former Newcastle United head coach when the ex-Magpies owner refused to back him in the January transfer window of 2017, with The Express reporting that the Spaniard demanded answers from Ashley.
There are many key areas of concern that Everton need to focus on, as well as finding a solution for the ongoing issues with Lucas Digne during the four-week window, and Benitez will want to avoid adding to the reckless spending habits of the past that the club has become famous for since Moshiri landed at Goodison Park.
The owner has signed 43 players and spent over £500 million over the last five years, not including the two additions this week, with little return of investment considering the club have not won a single trophy in that time and sit 15th in the Premier League currently.
Benitez has clearly attempted to adopt a different direction when it comes to signing transfer targets, just judging by his signings of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend in the summer, with Gray costing just £1.7m and Townsend joining on a free transfer.
It will be interesting to see if Everton continue their pursuit of Coutinho if the owner and manager cannot agree on the signing, and if he does go to Everton, it will only add to speculation that Benitez’s time at the club is slowly but surely coming to an end.
In other news: Benitez can axe Holgate with Araujo signing