Newcastle United ‘want to make Philippe Coutinho their statement signing’ once their Saudi takeover is completed and Mauricio Pochettino is installed as manager.
The £300million deal, backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is awaiting the approval of the Premier League but has been held up following Qatar’s broadcast piracy allegations.
Assuming the takeover goes through, Newcastle’s spending power would be transformed with former Tottenham manager Pochettino seen as the man to deliver a potential title challenge.
And, according to Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Brazilian star Coutinho could be on his way to St James’ Park as one of Newcastle’s first signings.
Barcelona wish to sell Coutinho to raise funds to buy Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez and potentially Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.
Valued at around £70million, Coutinho has been linked with Chelsea and Leicester City but Mundo Deportivo believe Newcastle could swoop in.
Coutinho, 27, moved from Liverpool to Barcelona for an initial fee of £105m potentially rising to £142m in January 2018.
But he has struggled to make an impact at the Nou Camp and is currently on loan at Bayern Munich in Germany, who have no intention of making the move permanent.
Pochettino, the former Tottenham boss, actually coached Coutinho in 2012 when the Brazilian was on loan at Espanyol from Inter Milan.
Mundo report that Barcelona are unwilling to budge on their valuation as they wish to recoup as much of their 2018 outlay as possible on a player contracted until 2023.
Newcastle’s vast new wealth would also be able to comfortably afford the expense.