The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) Public Investment Fund (PIF) may now sign Philippe Coutinho for Newcastle United in the January window, according to reports.
The Lowdown: Howe knows him well
It has been reported that Eddie Howe is now ‘close’ to becoming the new permanent boss in the North East after the departure of Steve Bruce, although Graeme Jones will still take interim charge of their match away at Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday evening.
Nonetheless, Howe should be involved in the St. James’ Park faithful’s transfer activity come January, and Coutinho is a player he knows well from his time in the Premier League – the former Liverpool man scored twice and assisted once in five showings against Howe’s Bournemouth side, including one incredible Man of the Match display at Anfield.
Would you be happy to sign Coutinho regardless of the price?
In a 4-0 Liverpool win back in 2017, Howe was extremely complementary of the ‘creative flair’ and ‘pace in attack’ (The Liverpool Echo) on show from Coutinho and co.
The Latest: January move could happen
However, that option would have to include an obligation to buy next summer, but the Magpies are seen as the ‘obvious destination’ for the playmaker.
The Verdict: Worth the risk
Coutinho has not exactly hit the ground running at Barca, with just 24 goals and 14 assists in 101 games in total over all competitions (Transfermarkt), which is hardly impressive considering that he cost a whopping £121.5m.
However, he is a player who shone in the Premier League, with 78 goal contributions in 152 matches in the division (Transfermarkt), and his former club teammate Roberto Firmino claimed in an interview with FIFA.com back in October last year that he is ‘one of the very best players in the world’ and has ‘magical powers’.
Paying his £380,000-per-week wages should not be too much of a problem for the new mega-rich owners, and at 29 years of age, the Brazil international should be at the peak of his powers.
His signing could also prompt other global names to follow him to the Toon.
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