Leicester City are one of three Premier League clubs to have been linked with a move for Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho.
According to The Sun (as relayed by the Leicester Mercury), Coutinho has been ‘offered’ to Wolves and West Ham United as well as the Foxes, with the player’s agent Kia Joorabchian in talks with the trio over a possible loan deal.
The report claims Coutinho will be available on a temporary basis, and that the loan club are expected to pay at least 60 percent of his wages, while Barca will fund the remaining 40 percent of his £21m-per-year salary.
It’s believed that the Catalan giants want an answer from potential suitors by this coming Friday as the club’s hierarchy are desperate to cut their expenses due to their dire financial situation.
Coutinho cultivated a reputation as one of football’s best playmakers while working under Brendan Rodgers during their time together at Liverpool.
They came close to winning the Premier League title together in 2013/14, and the Brazil international continue to move from strength to strength following Rodgers’ departure.
In a previous interview, Reds striker Roberto Firmino lauded his compatriot and former teammate, saying: “He’s phenomenal. You simply can’t say that he’s not a magician. He has magical powers. He produces plays that don’t exist, that you couldn’t make up.”
Coutinho’s impressive performances on Merseyside earned him a £142m move to the Camp Nou in January 2018, with Liverpool receiving a British record fee for the South American.
However, the creative talent has been unable to replicate his form at Anfield for Barca and found himself loaned out to Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 campaign.
He enjoyed a relatively successful 12-month stint with the Bundesliga giants, scoring 11 goals and providing nine assists in 38 appearances as Bayern won the treble, but the bad luck continued for Coutinho upon his return to Spain.
A serious knee injury ended his campaign in December after just 14 uninspiring outings, and Ronald Koeman’s charges are now desperate to offload Coutinho from their wage bill.
On his day, he’s a top-class operator, capable of playing for the world’s best teams, but unfortunately for him, those days have been few and far between since he left English shores three-and-a-half years ago.
Having said that, though, Rodgers would surely welcome a reunion with one of his former stars. With James Maddison’s future still up in the air and Dennis Praet reportedly eager to move on, signing Coutinho on loan could be a risk-free way of ensuring Leicester continue to progress.
If Maddison does end up joining Arsenal, then bringing in the £27m-rated Brazilian magician could ensure Rodgers still has someone who can be a chief creator for the side.