Philippe Coutinho has issued what the Daily Mirror describes as “a come-and-get-me plea to Manchester United”.
The 26-year-old Brazilian left Liverpool 14 months ago to join Barcelona in a £142m transfer sensation, but the move to the Camp Nou hasn’t gone according to plan and according to Spanish rag Mundo Deportivo he “has told friends he has found it hard to settle”. With 18 goals in 60 appearances, Coutinho has failed to reproduce the superb form that induced Barca to hand over the eye-watering sum to Liverpool in January 2018 and he was booed by some fans at the weekend,
The Mirror claims that the South American ace has “spoken with a number of Manchester United players about a potential £100m switch to Old Trafford”. Apparently Coutinho misses the cut and thrust of the Premier League and wants a return.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
He rather burned his bridges at Anfield with what the Mirror tactfully describes as the “protracted negotiations” over his transfer that led to much tension between Liverpool and Barcelona. Consequently, he is eyeing a move to United now that they are on the up after the departure of Jose Mourinho. However, United may face competition from Paris Saint-Germain, who are reportedly ready to offer Barcelona Neymar in exchange for Coutinho.
Van Dijk pay hike
Meanwhile the Mirror also claims that Liverpool are ready to secure the loyalty of centre-back Virgil van Dijk by offering the Dutchman “a staggering £200,000-a-week”. Rumours in the Spanish press suggest that Real Madrid and Barcelona both have their eye on the 27-year-old van Dijk, but so integral is he to Jurgen Klopp’s plans that the Liverpool manager has ordered the board to smash open the kitty.
The Mirror says that Real Madrid are on the “verge of a massive re-build this summer” with club President Florentino Perez determined to overhaul his failing squad and Van Dijk is one of the names on his wishlist.
The 60 per cent pay increase would put the central defender, who currently earns £124,658 a week, on the same wage as Mo Salah. Admittedly he did also receive a £6m signing-on fee after his move from Southampton in January last year but the wage increase is a reflection of how well regarded he is at the club.
De Ligt to join?
And could Van Dijk have a new defensive partner next season? “Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt has hinted that a future move to Liverpool may be on the cards,” reports MailOnline.
The 19-year-old has been in sensational form this season, not least as Ajax swept past Real Madrid in the Champions League last week. And his performances have led to speculation linking him with some of the biggest teams in Europe.
And the Mail says Anfield is “a possible destination for the teen star who has partnered Liverpool rock Virgil van Dijk in defence multiple times for Holland”.
Fekir for sale?
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has admitted that they could be forced to offload one of their talented young stars this summer, and Football.London believes playmaker, and long-term Reds target, Nabil Fekir is the most likely candidate to be sold.
Liverpool and Arsenal have both been linked to the 25-year-old Fekir in recent months, and Aulas admitted in an interview with French media that the pull of the Premier League will make it hard for Lyon to hang onto the midfielder. “It will take a big, big effort to try to convince Nabil, our world champion from the academy, to stay,” he said.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.