Philippe Coutinho’s career appears at a crossroads this summer following his failure to reignite his fortunes during a season-long loan deal at Bayern Munich, the playmaker unwanted in both Bavaria and Barcelona and seemingly heading for a new club.
The Brazilian’s dream move to Barcelona has turned into a nightmare after a hugely impressive five-year spell in the Premier League, but which clubs could offer the 27-year-old an opportunity to rediscover his best form?
Here are the five favourites to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer:
Liverpool – 7/1
It couldn’t happen, could it?
The circumstances of Coutinho’s departure from Liverpool soured his relationship with many of the club’s supporters who had idolised the star, whilst Jurgen Klopp had warned the player that the grass may not be greener away from Anfield.
Coutinho had flourished as a talismanic creative presence in the Reds’ side under Klopp, though the Merseyside club have moved on in his absence to win the Champions League and are closing in on an elusive league title.
Liverpool are believed to want attacking additions with their forward line lacking depth behind the first-choice front three, and Coutinho’s versatility – in addition to a proven record playing alongside the club’s forward line – could make him a sensible acquisition.
The Reds’ decision to withdraw their interest in Timo Werner due to a lack of finances, however, indicates a loan deal is the only possibility of an unlikely reunion.
Tottenham – 17/2
Another side counting the cost of the coronavirus crisis but seeking to strengthen this summer, Spurs have been linked with the possibility of offering Coutinho a route back into the Premier League.
The January departure of Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan leaves the club with a creative void, one which the Brazilian could fill operating either from the left or centrally in Jose Mourinho’s side.
The north London side, however, are unable to spend a significant fee to sign the 27-year-old and it remains to be seen whether Barcelona would sanction a loan, the Spanish giants desperate to raise funds to finance reported moves for Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar and Inter’s Lautaro Martinez.
Arsenal – 6/1
Arsenal are ranked amongst the favourites to sign the unwanted star with manager Mikel Arteta reportedly a huge admirer of the player’s talents, the Gunners head coach seeking high-class additions to help his side’s bid to return to the Champions League.
Coutinho’s technical ability and inventiveness seems perfectly suited to an Arsenal side famed for intricate inter-play, whilst the prospect of being a central figure at the club is likely to appeal given his inability to find a role at either Barcelona or Bayern.
A move to the Emirates could help build the Brazilian’s confidence as he looks to reignite his fortunes, though will likely come at the cost of playing his football outside of Europe’s elite competition.
Newcastle – 2/1
Much of the rumours surrounding Coutinho’s future of late have centred around Newcastle, who traditionally aren’t part of the discussion when it comes to high profile transfers. The odds above are certainly strong (for those who need it, SBD has available a thorough guide covering how to read odds), but with the club in the midst of a proposed takeover that could catapult the side into the financial elite, those odds are assuredly real.
Whilst doubts remain over the takeover being approved by Premier League authorities, ambitious plans have already been made to transform the Magpies from a mid-table outfit to genuine contenders.
Amongst the names being linked has been Coutinho, a player who only two years ago became the third most expensive player in the history of football. Proven at the very highest level, the Brazilian’s arrival in the North East would be a huge statement of intent, and could prove the catalyst for a revolution at St James’ Park.
Chelsea – 6/4
Chelsea’s swift and impressive business thus far has drawn plenty of admiring glances from across the continent, the west London side strengthening their options with the confirmed capture of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, in addition to agreeing a deal for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.
Frank Lampard has publicly admitted his frustrations with his side’s lack of creativity and goal threat on occasion, and Coutinho could be the latest star to arrive at Stamford Bridge to solve those deficiencies.
Owner Roman Abramovich has shown a willingness to back Lampard this summer and a deal for the Brazil international could be next, the prospect of Coutinho and Ziyech supplying the club’s forwards surely a mouth-watering prospect for the Blues’ supporters.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz has been widely reported to be on the Blues radar, but the bookies certainly seem to think a move for Coutinho very much remains on the cards.