Newcastle United have been linked with numerous talents across Europe since the completion of their Saudi-backed takeover in October. The new owners are just two weeks away from their first transfer window and plenty of eyes will be on the Magpies throughout January.
However, one name who sticks out amid an array of players is Barcelona attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
After leaving Liverpool for the Nou Camp almost four years ago in what was reportedly a £142m deal, the Brazilian has seen his career stagnate significantly.
Since joining the Spanish heavyweights, the 29-year-old has made 106 appearances, scoring 25 goals and registering 14 assists. By comparison, Coutinho managed 54 goals and 45 assists in 201 appearances whilst his former Anfield manager Jurgen Klopp has hailed him as a “world-class player” in the past.
Furthermore, the Brazilian was sent out on loan to Bayern Munich in the 2019/20 season in a bid to restore his confidence. He produced 20 goal involvements in 38 appearances alongside winning the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal. However, a permanent move to the Bavarian powerhouse never materialised.
The £18m-rated attacking midfielder, previously labelled a “magician” by compatriot Roberto Firmino, has seen his predicament in Catalonia worsen this season. So far, Coutinho has only made a starting lineup in La Liga on five occasions, playing just 501 minutes in the Spanish top flight.
However, the likelihood of a move to Newcastle being completed doesn’t bode well, with the Brazilian’s wages likely to prove a stumbling block for numerous interested suitors.
With the Magpies sat in 19th place in the Premier League, Eddie Howe will be looking for significant reinforcements to help Newcastle’s survival bid.
Callum Wilson has scored a third of their 18 league goals this term and an injury to the English centre-forward would prove detrimental, with Newcastle’s back-up options majorly inferior – winger Allan Saint-Maximin is his only team-mate to have scored more than once in the current league campaign.
The Tynesiders have seriously lacked creativity from midfield this season, and Coutinho would likely make a major difference.
Players such as Miguel Almiron have once again failed to make a real impact, with the Paraguayan scoring just 13 goals and registering five assists in 106 appearances for Newcastle since joining almost three years ago. Indeed, as per WhoScored, Coutinho has averaged a higher seasonal league rating than the 27-year-old in each of the last four campaigns, including 2021/22.
It seems unlikely now, but if Howe could lure the former Liverpool maestro to St James’ Park, it could prove a major boost to the Tyneside club’s Premier League survival hopes.