Newcastle United have reportedly identified Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho as a transfer target following their £300million takeover.
The Magpies were recently taken over by a Saudi Arabia-backed consortium, with the Tyneside-based outfit becoming the wealthiest club in the Premier League.
This comes as bad news for the rest of the division, including Arsenal, with another financial powerhouse to be reckoned with.
According to Spanish news outlet Sport, Newcastle’s new owners have already held talks with Coutinho over a possible move from Barcelona.
Coutinho, who is valued at £27m on Transfermarkt, has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal in the past, with less than two years remaining on his contract with Barcelona.
The 29-year-old was a star in his previous time in the Premier League, becoming one of the top flight’s brightest attacking talents when he was at Liverpool.
However, Barca came calling for the Brazil international and the Reds simply could not turn down a whopping £121m that was thrown in their direction.
Despite the big-money move, Coutinho’s time at Barca has been a frustrating one for both the player and the club – and reports are claiming that there is a mutual desire to part company.
Newcastle could present a fresh challenge to Coutinho, with the added financial incentive, but Jurgen Klopp may have already told Arsenal why they should go head-to-head with the Magpies for his signature.
Speaking in 2019, when Coutinho signed for Bayern Munich on a loan deal, Klopp labelled his former midfielder as “world-class”.
The Liverpool boss said: “[He is a] world-class player, really good transfer for Bayern and the Bundesliga.
“I thought it’s a good fit for both when I first heard about it. It may sound strange, but we didn’t have enough money to get him. We’d already spent all the money we got for him.
“I have already told him in person that he and Bayern will be a good fit.”
Liverpool, like Arsenal, have been linked with a move for Coutinho, but Klopp was quick to shut down any speculation over a return to Merseyside.
“I really respected Phil’s switch from the first second,” the German told the Pure Football Podcast, via the Evening Standard, in 2020.
“Not that I do that all the time but it felt ‘oh wow that could be difficult.’
“So it’s not about yes we signed a new contract so many weeks before that but it was really clear he would not have asked me for any other club but for this club, there was no chance.
“Then we had to be hard in the summer because we had no other solution. We lost Adam Lallana [to injury] in that time as well, we would have lost two players.
“That’s not possible, you cannot solve that on the transfer market.
“He was open to that [staying] and that was really cool. Then you have to be fair in the window and say we can do it, we don’t like it but we can do it.”
Arsenal were interested in signing a creative midfielder over the summer transfer window, and Martin Odegaard completed a permanent switch to north London, with the Norway star impressing in the early stages of the season.
In addition to this, Mikel Arteta has Emile Smith Rowe, who can also play in the number 10 role behind the striker.
Source by Football London