Philippe Coutinho ‘identifies’ team for Premier League return

    Former Liverpool player Philippe Coutinho ‘identifies’ the team for his Premier League return, according to reports ahead of the summer window.

    Rumours are swirling on the future of the Brazilian forward’s future with him falling out of favour since he left the Reds in January 2018.

    He was talk of the nation when he departed for a move to La Liga giants Barcelona in an eye-watering deal worth £142m, though flopped by scoring just 13 times from 52 matches, before going out to Bayern Munich in a season-long loan last August, where he faired better, though scored 8 goals in 23 games.

    The Germans declined to take the option to buy the 28-year-old whilst Barca want to get rid of him permanently.

    The Reds have never entertained the idea of a return to Anfield, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague last month, even if the player is claimed to be really missing not being with them.

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    Cout’s representatives are still hopeful of getting him back to the Premier League, with one club in particular identified.

    Speaking on a vodcast with Spanish title Sport, Balague said: “We know the ‘new’ Newcastle, when their takeover is confirmed which everyone expects it to be, will enter a new era and Coutinho is waiting for that to happen.

    “His representatives believe Newcastle will make an attempt to get him because he is the kind of the player they can have as I have said before, they should go for players who are finishing their contract like Cavani.

    “The biggest effort Coutinho’s representatives are doing is towards the Premier League and the idea is for him to go to the Premier League.

    “There has been talk of Arsenal but nothing has arrived from them, and also talk of going back to Liverpool on loan.

    “No truth whatsoever.

    “So we don’t need to talk about it any more, do we?

    “Liverpool are not interested, no offer has existed and I understand that the work the representatives have to do is to make it look like there is an auction but there isn’t such a thing at the moment.

    “The favourites if you have to choose from the Premier League are Newcastle if the (takeover) bid comes in and if they make an offer for him of some kind that Barcelona is happy with.

    “They want to get rid of Coutinho, that’s for certain, but at this point everything is possible including him staying but that seems unlikely.”

    Other reports claim that it’s Chelsea that are frontrunners to buy him, though it seems their main focus is bringing in Kai Havertz.

    Since then, there has also been reports of interest from Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton.

    Jurgen Klopp has spoken of Liverpool’s need to run a tight ship this summer.

    “If we have to and we have the opportunity and we have the financial resources then it will always happen and we will always try,” Klopp said.

    “But at the moment it’s really, really a difficult time.

    “This is a difficult year for all football clubs in the world and I don’t think it’s a time where we talk about transfers.

    “It’s just not possible, at least not for us. We cannot do it like this, other clubs maybe can, but this club is [operating] in a specific way.

    “This is our way, here we are. Is it the best way? I don’t know, but it’s ours and we will probably stick to that.”

    Gabriel Agbonlahor has recently stated that the one condition where he could join Liverpool would be that he must apologise for leaving in the first place.

    “For me, I’d go out there and get Coutinho back,” Agbonlahor told Stadium Astro.

    “I’d probably say, ‘you have to apologise for the way you left, but come back’.

    “For me, he is what Liverpool are missing in there. You can even play Coutinho where [Roberto] Firmino plays if Firmino isn’t doing it. The way Firmino plays, it looks like he is just told by [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah. ‘we are having the shots’.

    “So, if you went in and bought an [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, I think that could upset the way Liverpool play because Salah and Mane wouldn’t get as many shots because Firmino is very unselfish.

    “Coutinho needs to be the main man in the team, and at Liverpool, he would be. I think he would do a great job at Liverpool and the fans would forgive him and have him back.”

    Thiago Alcantara’s comments on Philippe Coutinho lifted the lid on what he thinks of Liverpool.

    He said: “I know him a lot. He’s very good.

    “I’ve seen him play since he was 12 years old. I played futsal against him in Brazil and I loved it. He doesn’t think he lacks anything.

    “I love playing with high-level footballers and he is a phenomenon.

    “He is a spectacular guy, super hard-working, with an unbeatable technique and incredible definition.

    “The players go through good and not so good moments and he is giving us a lot.”

    Speaking ahead of Bayern’s Champions League clash with Liverpool last season, Thiago, who has also been linked with the Reds, said: “We know perfectly, this team. What they are, what they have.

    “They play awesome football these past years, and they increase every year. They are fighting in the Premier League now with the same points as [Manchester] City.

    “In the Champions League they do it, not so great in performances (Liverpool had somewhat scraped through the group stage with three defeats), but they are great.

    “Yeah we are looking forward because we expect a great match, not just against a great team but also a great crowd.”

    Any club paying Coutinho’s wages, let alone a loan or transfer fee, would be a gamble, but also wouldn’t represent good value for money in this current climate.

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