Transfer Talk: Premier League trio set for Coutinho scramble
Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton are ready to kick 2022 off by doing battle for Barcelona flop Philippe Coutinho.
Ex-Liverpool star Coutinho, 29, has made only five starts in LaLiga this term and is ready to call time on his frustrating four-year stint at the Camp Nou.
The Brazilian is the Blaugrana’s top earner on a whopping £370,000-per-week salary and Barca’s recent acquisition of Ferran Torres from Manchester City has only further enhanced the need to move him on.
El Nacional say Spurs were the first club to make direct contact about a move with their boss Antonio Conte an admirer of the playmaker.
The Italian knows the Catalonians need to sell and believes no fee should be required to make a deal happen.
However, Barca president Joan Laporta intends to recoup at least £16m from any departure, which may hand the advantage to Everton and Arsenal instead.
The Toffees have had a disappointing campaign to date and have started January by adding Ukranian international full back Vitaliy Mykolenko to their ranks.
More deals look likely as Rafa Benitez goes about transforming their fortunes around and a glut of injuries in forward areas has left them lacking a creative spark in recent weeks.
Should they pursue a deal for Coutinho, location is certainly in their favour with the midfielder having enjoyed five happy years living on Merseyside when starring for local rivals Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s improvement under Mikel Arteta has been impressive in recent months and the Gunners are firmly in the top-four race.
Reports suggest Arteta has given the green light for Gunners officials to enquire about Coutinho’s availability and the requested fee will not be a stumbling block.
Coutinho recently rejected a proposed loan move to Newcastle because of the Toon’s lowly league position, which hints Arsenal may be the club in pole position for his signature.
In other news
Lille’s Dutch defender Sven Botman is Newcastle’s primary target in January, according to the Daily Mail.
Botman is a Netherlands Under-21 international and the Magpies are said to be readying a £30m bid to bring him to Tyneside.
Manchester United will look to pip the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Inter Milan to land River Plate forward Julian Alvarez.
Spanish outlet Sport say the Red Devils are at the front of the queue for the highly-rated Argentine and are willing to pay the 21-year-old’s £16.8m release clause this month.
ESPN say Tottenham are ready to offer AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie a lucrative deal to sign a pre-contract with them this month ahead of a summer switch.
Kessie, 25, has been on the radar of several English clubs including Manchester United and Arsenal but Spurs hope to gazump their domestic rivals by moving quickly.