The Hard Tackle analyses Philippe Coutinho’s potential destinations next season, with five Premier League clubs vying for his signature.
Philippe Coutinho has once again become a hot topic in the transfer market. As Daily Express recently revealed, the Brazilian is likely to be offloaded in the upcoming summer for a cut-price fee of only £77 million, which is considerably lower than what Barcelona had paid to Liverpool in January 2018.
Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich. But, the Bavarians are unlikely to retain his services following the recent revelation of Thomas Muller, coupled with the rise of Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.
However, Barcelona’s reported valuation of just £77 million has raised a lot of eyebrows, particularly in England, where all of the top clubs except Arsenal are now vying for his signature this summer.
And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a deep dive into Coutinho’s potential options next season and which club could emerge as the ideal destination for the Brazilian sensation, when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
Contrary to expectations, Manchester City have had a disappointing season under Pep Guardiola. So much so, they have lagged behind Leicester City for a chunk of the Premier League campaign.
And with Guardiola’s future at Etihad still hanging in the balance, especially with Juventus interested, Manchester City have to be more dominant in the market this summer. A move for Coutinho, in that regard, could go a long way in adding more depth and quality to their creative department.
Kevin De Bruyne has done a fantastic job despite suffering from a few fitness issues. However, Bernardo Silva hasn’t reached the heights of last season while club legend David Silva is set to depart Etihad after the end of the season.
Coutinho, therefore, should emerge as an ideal replacement for the Spaniard. He has experience of playing in the English top-flight, although getting regular game-time could be a little difficult given the fierce competition in the club’s offensive department.
Transfer rating: 8/10
Liverpool are keen on bringing Coutinho back to Anfield despite his initial departure being widely criticised by fans in 2018. Nevertheless, the Barcelona loanee could be a smart addition to the Liverpool side that has lacked the presence of a reliable alternative for the revered offensive trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
With the likes of Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not always making the impact they would have hoped for, largely due to injuries, the addition of Coutinho could certainly come as a breath of fresh air for Jurgen Klopp.
However, it remains a doubt whether or not Liverpool would want to splash £77 million on the Brazilian forward, especially when they could invest the same amount of money on a central midfielder or perhaps even a star striker.
Therefore, the likelihood of Coutinho’s potential return to Anfield is low, although a lot could change should Klopp identify him as a transfer priority next summer.
Transfer rating: 7/10
Tottenham Hotspur are in imminent need of a quality attacker – perhaps more than anyone else on this list right now. Indeed, the Lilywhites are once again treading on thin ice following the injury to Harry Kane.
They have brought in Steven Bergwijn, but the Dutchman is more of a winger than a centre forward. Meanwhile, the likes of Son Heung-min remains the only other central options, with Lucas Moura struggling to provide the productivity going forward.
Although Coutinho is not a number nine per se, Tottenham could be an ideal destination for the Brazilian for a number of reasons. Firstly, Jose Mourinho’s men are dealing with the departure of Christian Eriksen, who switched to Inter Milan last month.
Coutinho, in that regard, could be a tailor-made replacement for the Dane, especially given his previous exposure of playing in the Premier League. It also ensures the fact that the ex-Inter Milan star will receive regular game-time at Spurs.
His combination with the likes of Son, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso could potentially help reinvigorate a Tottenham attack that has severely underperformed this season. In fact, Mourinho was even present during Bayern Munich’s game against RB Leipzig on Sunday and it looks like Coutinho could be identified as a transfer priority for the Lilywhites this summer.
Transfer rating: 9/10
Much like Tottenham, Chelsea will more than welcome the potential arrival of Coutinho. The Blues notably failed to sign a single player in the January transfer window even though their transfer ban was lifted.
Mason Mount started the campaign well, but has struggled to maintain his consistency, of late. Meanwhile, the likes of Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pedro have either not been consistent or fit enough to make the desired impact, leaving Chelsea far too reliant on the services of Tammy Abraham and Willian.
Frank Lampard’s men have certainly rued the absence of Eden Hazard and that’s where Coutinho could come into the fray. The Brazilian could be slotted into the left wing role, at the expense of Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic. His ability to drift into a central role should tune in well with other attackers like Willian and Mount.
Moreover, the 27-year-old is guaranteed to receive regular game-time as Chelsea lack the presence of any real superstar in the attacking department. Hence, a move to Stamford Bridge does make a lot of sense for the Brazilian sensation.
Transfer Rating: 8/10
It seems like Manchester United could also use the services of Coutinho despite the January arrival of Portuguese ace Bruno Fernandes. The former Sporting CP captain has made a decent start to life as Manchester United player. However, United’s lack of creativity in the final third has persisted.
Other players including Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have failed to make the desired impact while Juan Mata is nearing the final phase of his career, thus accentuating the need for someone like Coutinho.
The 27-year-old can build a fresh partnership with Fernandes in the United attack next season, which could ultimately benefit the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.
But, at the same time, his former connection with Liverpool could make the move much more controversial. It was reported last year that the attacker himself wouldn’t like to move to Manchester United and therefore, his potential transfer to Old Trafford is quite unlikely this summer.
Transfer Rating: 5/10