Philippe Coutinho: Which Premier League Club Would Suit the Brazilian Best?

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

It’s safe to say things haven’t quite gone to plan for Philippe Coutinho since swapping Liverpool for Barcelona back in January 2018.

With La Blaugrana forking out an eye-watering £142m for his services, there was a lot of pressure on Coutinho to deliver straight away. But after starting just 22 games in Spain’s top division in his first full season and failing to impress, he was sent out on loan to Bayern Munich the following summer.

Bayern were given the option to make the move permanent for around €120m, but, even before the financial implications of the pandemic took hold, told Barcelona ‘nein, danke’.

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Now in a situation where neither his parent club nor his loan club want him, it is unclear where the Brazilian – not long ago regarded as one of the world’s best attacking midfielders – will be playing his football next season.

However, his agent has recently confirmed the player’s ‘desire’ to return to the Premier League, while several English sides linked.

Here’s a look at the English options for Coutinho, and whether any of the moves make much sense….

Ole Gunnar SolskjaerOle Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer | UEFA – Handout/Getty Images

Manchester United forked out a hefty sum to bring in Bruno Fernandes in January, but he has already gone a long way to repaying the fee with his stellar performances.

However, despite his arrival, the addition of more global stars like Coutinho – a player not only creative and tactically versatile but also highly marketable – certainly ticks a lot of boxes for a club looking to get back to challenging for titles.

It’s quite simple, really. This move seems highly unlikely on many counts.

Manchester United have their sights set on other targets (read more about those here) and they don’t need to be taking any unnecessary risks by spending silly money on Coutinho – especially during these financially challenging times for clubs.

Recent reports put the Brazilian’s price tag at anywhere up to €100m (£89m), while his current salary sits at around €11m a year (about £200k-a-week).

There’s also the small matter of him being an ex-Liverpool player. A lot has been made of whether Coutinho would be open to making the switch to Old Trafford because of his Liverpool days. Some reports say he very much wouldn’t.

But what about United? Would they or the fans be keen to see the Brazilian slipping on the red jersey? A fair few wouldn’t.

Likelihood: 2/10

Jurgen Klopp, Philippe CoutinhoJurgen Klopp, Philippe Coutinho
Jurgen Klopp and Philippe Coutinho | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Coutinho was simply unplayable at points during his time at Anfield, popping up all over the pitch to link up play, cause havoc and score screamers.

A return to a more familiar setting could be just what he needs to kickstart his career once more and if the Reds could get the 27-year-old back playing at his best, then that would be a very scary thought for the rest of Europe.

Make no mistake about it, Jurgen Klopp’s squad needs very little improvement, but it is often said that they have on occasion lacked a creative midfielder.

Of course, Liverpool have coped just fine without Coutinho since his departure, but he has a unique skillset which could prove valuable to the Reds as they look to assert their dominance domestically and in Europe over the forthcoming years.

Liverpool have a squad that gels and works together.

Yes, Coutinho was excellent during his time with Liverpool, but they haven’t missed him since he departed. Instead, they’ve gone on to become champions of Europe and are the soon-to-be Premier League champions.

A source also confirmed to 90min in April that the Reds still have first refusal on the player – but they have little desire to take up their option.

With Barcelona set to demand a big fee, a return to Liverpool seems highly unlikely with the club now more focused on promoting youth from within.

In terms of significant outlays in recruitment in the near future, only Timo Werner looks remotely likely.

Likelihood: 2.5/10

Pep GuardiolaPep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Coutinho would bring creativity and could also even the voids left by Leroy Sane (assuming he leaves) and David Silva. The player would also fit into Pep Guardiola’s system and style of play, with his ability to drift and and pick up pockets of space making him constantly available for his teammates and a real threat.

With the help of a coach like Guardiola, Coutinho could well rediscover his best form and, with no ties to Man City, it could be just the fresh start he needs.

Yes, City have the money to pull this deal off, but why should they?

They have other targets in mind, who could potentially arrive for a smaller transfer fee, while they also actually appear to hold very little interest in signing him. Not to mention, the Sky Blues’ squad is already overflowing with talent, including the club’s young prince Phil Foden.

To rub salt into the wounds, City were offered the chance to sign Coutinho last summer – but Guardiola wasn’t interested.

Likelihood: 3/10

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho
Coutinho vs Everton | Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

With Carlo Ancelotti leading the way, Everton are looking to splash the cash in the market as they look to climb the Premier League table. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison have looked bright up front together this season, but the Toffees still need a creator from midfield to spot the openings and create chances.

As a result, they have shown an interest in Coutinho and are even said to be willing to accept Barcelona’s demands of a loan deal with a mandatory option-to-buy at the end of it.

Putting the obvious aside, this move does make a lot of sense.

Everton are looking to build a team that can challenge in Europe, while Coutinho is looking for a project that will allow him to shine and prove his worth once again. There are also the ties between his agent Kia Joorabchian and Toffees majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri and Barcelona’s history of offloading players to Everton (see: Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes, Yerry Mina).

Unfortunately, however, the rivalry between Liverpool and Everton cannot be ignored.

Few have crossed the divide, with Nick Barmby one of the most recent high profile examples back at the turn of the century.

It is unclear whether Coutinho would even be willing to commit to such a move, but even if he was, the hostility and criticism he would receive might not help him in his attempts to get back to his best form.

Likelihood: 5/10

Philippe Coutinho, Brendan RodgersPhilippe Coutinho, Brendan Rodgers
Coutinho and Brendan Rodgers | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Similar to the project at Everton, a move to Leicester could actually prove to be very appealing for Coutinho – without all the side drama, as well. Currently sat in the Champions League spaces, the Brazil international wouldn’t really be making many sacrifices.

As for the Foxes, they would benefit from a player of Coutinho’s calibre, while the player himself would also fit into the team’s style. Perhaps most notably, however, is the appeal of working under Brendan Rodgers once again. Coutinho thrived under his management and the pair understand each other very well.

Who is dropped if Coutinho arrives? Harvey Barnes was in excellent form prior to the enforced break, while James Maddison occupies the attacking midfield role. Of course, Barnes can play on either wing, but Rodgers won’t be keen to alter the starting lineup and their positions too much. Then, there’s also the issue of cost.

Strength in depth is key but equally, a move for Coutinho could do more harm than good for the Foxes.

Competition for places aside, there is (once again) the question of cost. Jamie Vardy – the club’s star man and Premier League top scorer is reportedly on around £140,000k a week – some way short of Coutinho’s current packet. The Brazilian might have to be willing to take a pay cut to make this a realistic possibility.

Likelihood: 6/10

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho
FC Bayern Muenchen v FC Augsburg – Bundesliga | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

There are two main reasons why Newcastle are in with a chance of landing Coutinho.

First, should the proposed takeover be completed, the Magpies will have the financial strength to negotiate with Barça and either agree a loan or permanent transfer for Coutinho. Second, if the new owners manage to bring in his former boss at Espanyol, Mauricio Pochettino, this will be a major indicator of the direction of the club and will be hugely enticing for the player.

Both financially and on the field, if the takeover is completed and Pochettino is brought in, this could be a very realistic move. Of course, Coutinho would be a marquee signing for Newcastle and would go a long way to helping the prospective new owners achieve their goals.

The main problem is the constant use of the word ‘if’. At this moment in time, it is simply hypothetical.

Even if the takeover were to go through, Coutinho would have to commit to a longer-term project that may see him out of the Champions League for several seasons.

Likelihood: 6/10

UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"UEFA Champions League"Red Bull Leipzig v Tottenham Hotspur FC"
Jose Mourinho | ANP Sport/Getty Images

One of Tottenham’s better performers this season has been Giovani Lo Celso, with the Argentine receiving much praise for his vision and awareness. But while Lo Celso has been impressive, he has managed just the two goals and one assist this season.

Spurs are in need of a player such as Coutinho, who can provide the right balance and take some of the pressure off the likes of Lo Celso and Dele as well as the forwards, with his passing and eye for goal. Most excitingly, Coutinho could strike up a menacing partnership with Harry Kane.

This is a move that could suit everyone.

Money, money, money.

A loan move has been reported in recent weeks, and this could suit a number of clubs on this list. But Football Insider recently reported that Barça will ask for a loan fee of around £8m, while any interested club will also have to pay his wages in full.

This is already problematic….and as you’d expect, Marca later reported that while Spurs have been offered the chance to sign Coutinho, they aren’t considering a move right now with his wages (you remember, all €11m of them) a major issue.

Also, can you see Coutinho forced into wing back under Mourinho?

Likelihood: 6/10

Mikel ArtetaMikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Arsenal are in a position not too dissimilar to their north London rivals, with the Gunners in need of midfield and attacking reinforcements.

Far too often, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is left frustrated as his run hasn’t been spotted and a golden chance has been missed. Coutinho could be the man to provide the link between the midfield and the attack.

Fluidity, attacking and with a hungry manager in the dugout with a point to prove, a move to Arsenal could be an exciting proposition for Coutinho, while the London appeal may also be another bonus. As for the Gunners and Arteta, it could be a statement of intent.

Like at Everton, Joorabchian also has connections at Arsenal, which could help facilitate a deal.

See Tottenham.

A source confirmed to 90min in March that with the Gunners’ transfer funds limited, they are considering the signings of three potential free agents.

That says it all really, doesn’t it?

Likelihood: 6.5/10

Philippe CoutinhoPhilippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho | TF-Images/Getty Images

A young and talented Chelsea squad would benefit from the addition of Coutinho. With Willian and Pedro potentially heading out the exit door this summer, the Blues will need a new arrival – someone who has experience of playing in the Premier League and has a winning mentality.

That is what Coutinho can bring. Frank Lampard doesn’t have a player like Coutinho in his squad. Mason Mount and Willian lead the way in terms of assists in the Premier League this season, with their tally of just five each.

Lampard’s squad is filled with talent but not much inventiveness and imagination in the most crucial areas of the pitch. Chelsea also have the funds to make this move happen, making it the most reasonable and suitable option.

Yes, they have the funds, but do they really want to pay Coutinho’s wages for a loan move with an option to buy?

It’s the same old story once again for Coutinho with regards to concerns over his wages and his performances.

It is a move that most definitely wouldn’t please every Chelsea fan….

Likelihood: 7/10

For more from Adam Aladay, follow him on Twitter!


Projecting How Many Goals the Premier League’s Top Forwards Will Score in Their Careers

Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion – Premier League | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Premier League’s current legendary goalscorers all started somewhere and at one point or another were looking for that next milestone goal, whether it be 50, 70, 100, 150…

Among the players of today, several will end up all-time legends in their own right in due course, with Sergio Aguero close to becoming only the third player in Premier League history to reach 200 goals.

Here’s a projection of how many goals 10 of the Premier League’s best current forwards will end up with by the time their careers in the English top flight are at an end.

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangPierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores against Everton | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

There is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Arsenal future of club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is only under contract in north London for one more year.

90min has previously reported that Arsenal, a club who have struggled with the final impact of coronavirus, could sell Aubameyang. The Gunners have negotiated a pay cut with the squad and senior official Josh Kroenke has previously warned against the problem of having a squad on Champions League wages funded by a Europa League budget.

Even if there is no market for Aubameyang this summer as a result of coronavirus obliterating the buying power of clubs across Europe, the Gabon star may not be around much longer.

Aubameyang scored 22 goals in his only full Premier League season so far, following on from 10 in 13 games when he first arrived. Another 17 in 26 so far in 2019/20 is equally impressive, but his final tally will stay relatively low because his stay is likely to be brief.

Current PL Goal Tally: 49

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 54

A projected final Premier League tally of 54 is only five more than Aubameyang has now.

Raheem SterlingRaheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling scores against Wolves | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

If Manchester City lose their fight against a UEFA ruling to ban them from the Champions League for two seasons, it puts Raheem Sterling in a difficult position. At 25, if he wants to spend his peak years somewhere he has a chance of winning it, he would have to leave City in order to do it.

There are links with Manchester United that have emerged just this month, but if Sterling goes anywhere it is highly probable to be somewhere overseas.

If City do lose their appeal, it could mean Sterling leaving quite suddenly ahead of next season. Of course, there has to be a willing buyer with the funds to make it happen, and those could be even scarcer in the current climate.

If Sterling doesn’t leave City this year to ensure he is playing Champions League football, the chances of him leaving at all suddenly drop dramatically because half the ban would already be elapsed.

Sterling has only found his feet in front of goal since 2017 and has actually had a down year by his own new standards in 2019/20. If he leaves English football sooner rather than later, perhaps returning in his thirties, it is feasible he might not add too many more goals to his tally.

Current PL Goal Tally: 77

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 115

Robbie Fowler is the youngest player to reach 100 Premier League goals at 23 years and 282 days.

Mohamed SalahMohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah scores against Bournemouth | Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Predicting when Mohamed Salah might leave Liverpool is not easy. The Egyptian has been a key part of the club’s growing success over the last few seasons and is arguably the most expendable member of the Reds’ existing front three.

That being said, it has been well established that Liverpool have no intention of breaking up that trio, while there may not be much of a selling market for a 30-year-old Salah in 2022.

At some point in the not too distant future the Reds will have to start moving on and begin the process of rebuilding for the next cycle.

Salah is under contract at Anfield until 2023 and perhaps with a shorter-term extension in the intervening years to protect his value could be allowed to leave in 2022.

If that proves to be the case, there would likely be no end of suitors willing to take him, but it wouldn’t be a blockbuster deal because of the lack of clubs prepared to spend big on players with minimal long-term potential in the post-Neymar transfer market.

Salah will easily break 100 Premier League goals if he continues his current scoring rate for the next two years. The question will be by how much because in 2019/20 he’s on course to fall just shy of his 2018/19 tally, which in turn was less than his 2017/18 return.

Current PL Goal Tally: 72

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 115

The only African player to break the 100-goal barrier in Premier League history is Didier Drogba.

Jamie VardyJamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy scores against Aston Villa | Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

For someone who hadn’t played league football before the age of 25 or top flight football until he was 27, it is remarkable that Jamie Vardy is only a single goal shy of a Premier League century.

Leading the Golden Boot race this season, the 33-year-old will almost certainly reach the 100-goal milestone when the 2019/20 resumes. Then it will be a case of how much longer he can continue playing at this level and maintain a good output.

Vardy suggested in 2016 that his late arrival to the professional game might help him extend his career and it is easy to imagine he could remain a Leicester player until the end of his current contract in 2022 and perhaps a short extension on top of that to 2023, by when he’ll be 36.

Before coronavirus, Vardy was on course to eclipse his most prolific Premier League campaign to date. He could still do that by reaching 25, despite the lengthy break in play, and it is easy to imagine decreasing tallies could follow in the next two years.

Current PL Goal Tally: 99

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 125

125 Premier League goals would put Vardy level with Nicolas Anelka.

Anthony MartialAnthony Martial
Anthony Martial scores against Norwich | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Anthony Martial is on the cusp of becoming a potentially very good goalscorer and has reaped the rewards of a noticeable shift in his mentality this season. He is also benefitting from being the main man at Manchester United for the first time since he was a teenager in 2015/16.

Fitness and consistency still hold Martial back occasionally, although it is easy to forget that he is still only 24. His improvement this campaign has therefore come at the right time as he prepares to enter his peak years next season and beyond.

The Frenchman has averaged a goal almost every other game in the Premier League this season, so 15 each campaign shouldn’t be beyond him. He also appears to have won over manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and so is unlikely to be shipped out before he is 30.

If he signs one more long-term deal in the next couple of years to extend his contract beyond its current expiry in 2024, it is plausible to think United would accept an offer for Martial around 2026, giving him six more years to score goals in the Premier League.

Current PL Goal Tally: 45

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 135

As things stand, only Wayne Rooney has more than 135 Premier League goals in United colours.

Sadio ManeSadio Mane
Sadio Mane scores against Bournemouth | Alex Livesey – Danehouse/Getty Images

If Liverpool could be tempted into letting Mohamed Salah go within a couple of years, one player they surely won’t want to part company with is Sadio Mane.

The Senegalese winger is arguably a more important player, along with Roberto Firmino, in Liverpool’s system than his fellow African. However, the lure of a club like Real Madrid or Barcelona, should either be able to afford it, might be hard to resist as a once in a lifetime chance.

Financially, the likelihood is slim and it is possible to envisage Mane lining up for Liverpool into his early thirties, which means more opportunity to add to his existing Premier League goal tally.

With 80 to his name already, Mane could reach 100 by the end of 2020/21. Averaging between 15 and 20 at a similar scoring rate to the last 18 months could see him get to 140, on the lower end of the estimate, by the end of 2023/24.

Current PL Goal Tally: 80

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 140

Mane could join the likes of Michael Owen (150) and Robbie Fowler (163).

Tammy AbrahamTammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham scores against Arsenal | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Tammy Abraham has proved his worth in his debut Premier League season with Chelsea by scoring 13 times in 25 appearances. No doubt the young Englishman has thrived thanks to a lack of other options, but he has at least taken the opportunity that came his way.

Only time will tell if he can replicate that longer term.

Abraham is far from a bad player and could conceivably have a long Premier League career that lasts another 10 years. Whether all that time is at Stamford Bridge is another question as he could so easily find himself with much tougher competition within the next two or three years.

Current PL Goal Tally: 18

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 150

Age could be what ultimately helps Abraham get among the top Premier League goalscorers of all time, with 150 more than both Teddy Sheringham (146) and Robin van Persie (144).

Marcus RashfordMarcus Rashford
Marcus Rashford scores against Man City | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Marcus Rashford has still been finding his way until this season when, at 22, he appears to have settled on his best position – operating wide from the left.

His goal return has improved year on year since breaking into the Manchester United first-team in 2016, to the point where 2019/20 has been the most prolific of his fledgling career so far.

Those yearly increases actually make it quite difficult to project what his output will be in the future as theoretically there is not yet a discernible ceiling on his numbers. He could continue to hit 14 Premier League goals per season, or keep increasing it until he hits 20, 25 or even 30.

Despite reportedly flirting with Barcelona last season, Rashford now appears more committed to United than ever and is fast emerging as the centrepiece of the rebuild.

If he lasts another 10 seasons at Old Trafford and matches an average of the 14 Premier League goals he got in little more than the first half of 2019/20, Rashford would reach 181 – and that would be a distinctly conservative estimate.

Current PL Goal Tally: 41

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 185

If Rashford plays abroad during his career it would obviously impact his numbers in English football. If he doesn’t and spends his whole career in the Premier League the sky is the limit.

Sergio AgueroSergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero scores against Crystal Palace | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sergio Aguero has one more year left on his Manchester City contract and will be 34 by the time that deal expires. He is already City’s all-time leading goalscorer and arguably greatest ever player and has long been tipped to play for boyhood club Independiente before he retires.

The timing of a 2021 departure, which would mark a full decade in Manchester, in order to head back to Argentina just seems right.

In eight full previous seasons as a Premier League player, Aguero has averaged 20.5 goals per season, a supremely impressive level of consistency. Even into his thirties, he has shown little sign of slowing down and had 16 in 22 to his name before 2019/20 was halted.

Current PL Goal Tally: 180

Project Final PL Goal Tally: 205

By the end of next season it is feasible that Aguero has 205 Premier League goals to his name, third behind only Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208) in the all-time list.

Harry KaneHarry Kane
Harry Kane scores against Burnley | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Harry Kane has long been tipped to surpass Alan Shearer’s all-time Premier League goal record of 260. The Tottenham talisman will be 27 next month and is just over halfway there.

The problem is that he’s suffered badly with injuries in three of the last four seasons and is now way short of his 2017/18 peak when he plundered 30 in the Premier League.

Kane may grow frustrated if Spurs continue to fall away from the upper echelons of English and European football, but with a contract until 2024 his club holds all the cards. A move before 2023 seems unlikely because no buyer will pay what Spurs will ask for.

Given his recent injury track record as it stands, it is difficult to imagine Kane will hit his existing 24.4 goals per season Premier League average, certainly with any degree of consistency.

He could be pushing 200 goals by the time 2022/23 finishes and he closes in on his 30th birthday. Then, whether he has any chance of breaking the record would be determined by whether he heads abroad or stays in England.

Current PL Goal Tally: 136

Projected Final PL Goal Tally: 240

If he stays in England, Kane will get close to Shearer’s landmark. But he may not break it.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!


Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu Asks Players to Take Second Pay Cut Amid Financial Turmoil of Coronavirus

Josep Maria Bartomeu
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has reportedly asked the players to take a further pay cut, as the club attempts to mitigate the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

The playing staff agreed to take a hefty 70% reduction to their current salaries at the end of March, with the Blaugrana paying out more in wages than any other team in the world.

Lionel MessiLionel Messi
Lionel Messi revealed the Barca players were more than happy to take a 70% pay cut back in March | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Lionel Messi alone typically earns around €35m annually, while Antoine Griezmann collects a healthy €17m per annum.

Messi previously admitted he wasn’t impressed at the manner in which the board went about securing the initial cuts, believing they pressured players into taking a pay cut when they were already planning to.

And now, Catalan radio station CCMA believe Bartomeu asked the Barça squad to take further pay cuts on 23 May, on top of the one already agreed, in what he described as a ‘new effort’ from the players.

The president is said to have taken advantage of his visit to the first team’s training facility two Saturday’s ago, and it’s understood he was there with the CEO Òscar Grau and another executive who has been working on the cuts, Albert Soler.

The players are yet to respond to the hierarchy’s latest demands.

Samuel Umtiti, Nelson SemedoSamuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo
The Catalans are also looking to balance the club’s books via player sales before the end of June | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

It’s likely the second wave of cuts will also stretch to the staff, despite no mention of it in the latest report. The initial cuts also applied to the women’s football teams, the B team, the Under-19s as well as the basketball, handball, futsal and roller hockey teams.

The Blaugrana have been actively trying to offload several high-profile stars during the current hiatus as they attempt to balance their accounts by the end of June.

Ousmane Dembélé, Arthur Melo, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo and Philippe Coutinho are just a few of the names who could imminently depart Camp Nou, recuperating hefty fees in the process.

However, the Catalans should start to generate revenue through sponsors once La Liga makes its long-awaited return on 11 June.


Matty Longstaff Offered Contract by Udinese With Newcastle Contract Talks at ‘Impasse’

Matty Longstaff
Hibernian v Newcastle – Pre-Season Friendly | Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Newcastle midfielder Matty Longstaff is could be on the verge of a bizarre move to Udinese, after the Serie A side reportedly offered him a £30,000-per-week contract – double the figure on the table from the Magpies.

Longstaff broke into the Newcastle first-team setup earlier this season having graduated from the club’s youth system and enjoyed a dream Premier League debut last October, notching the winner in Newcastle’s 1-0 win over Manchester United.

Matty LongstaffMatty Longstaff
Matty Longstaff playing against Everton | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The 20-year-old is said to have been eager to extend his deal on Tyneside but has been unimpressed with Newcastle’s proposals thus far. As a result his future at the club now seems uncertain, and Udinese have offered the youngster a substantial wage rise.

Sky Sports’ north east reporter Keith Downie broke the news on Twitter, tweeting: “Matty Longstaff has been offered £30,000-a-week to sign for Serie A side Udinese. The midfielder flew out to Italy before lockdown, where held talks over a five-year-deal. Longstaff wants to stay at Newcastle but Udinese’s offer is more than double that of Newcastle’s.”

Udinese are reportedly not the only foreign club monitoring the situation of the Newcastle man, with Downie adding that a number of European giants were said to be watching on, though only one offer has been made at this stage.

“Previous reports stated Marseille and Inter Milan were interested, but only Udinese have made a concrete offer so far. Matty been mulling it over for nearly three months, and due to takeover situation at Newcastle talks have reached an impasse #NUFC”, he added.

The speculation comes despite the England Under-20 starlet having made just six Premier League appearances for Newcastle.

Longstaff made his first ever senior appearance earlier this season, starting in the club’s EFL Cup second round tie with Leicester City in August. The youngster has gone on to make nine appearances in all competitions for the Tynesiders, notching three goals.

Many of Longstaff’s first-team appearances have been made alongside older brother Sean. He too graduated from the Newcastle youth system and has represented the club on 31 occasions.


PSG ‘in Negotiations’ With Arsenal Over Signature of Hector Bellerin Despite Player’s Desire to Stay

Hector Bellerin
Arsenal FC v Olympiacos FC – UEFA Europa League Round of 32: Second Leg | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain are said to be attempting to negotiate a deal with Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, despite recent reports claiming the Spaniard is keen on staying in north London under Mikel Arteta’s tutelage.

Bellerin had started five of his side’s last six Premier League games after his return from a hamstring injury in January, but there have been plenty of claims of the 25-year-old potentially seeking a way out of north London for a ‘more ambitious club’.

Hector BellerinHector Bellerin
Hector Bellerin scored his side’s late equaliser in a 2-2 draw away at Chelsea back in January | Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images

Spanish news outlet Todo Fichajes, meanwhile, believe PSG are ‘in negotiations’ with the Gunners for the right-back, as they go in search of finding a replacement for free agent Thomas Meunier.

Although Bellerin’s potential sale would bring in a hefty sum that Arsenal could reinvest, the player is understood to be ‘fully invested’ in the Arteta project at the club, understanding his vision for the Gunners’ future.

Amid the current period of uncertainty, Bellerin has continued to act as the club’s Professional Footballers’ Association delegate, while also working closely with the Gunners hierarchy to find a solution to the pay-cut saga.

Despite a frustrating 18 or so months for Bellerin – which saw him miss almost a year of action with an ACL rupture – the Spaniard seems keen on evolving into Arteta’s long-term right-back option in north London.

Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis PapastathopoulosMatteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos
Ainsley Maitland-Niles (C) had reportedly fallen out with Mikel Arteta before the break over his attitude | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

And following Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ reported ‘falling out’ with the Arsenal boss, it appears Bellerin will have a key role to play when the Premier League returns later this month.

The 22-year-old had filled in ably in a relatively unfamiliar role during Bellerin’s absence, often impressing during the early days of the Spaniard’s reign.

A poor attitude in training, however, saw him ‘frozen out’ of Arteta’s first-team plans before the break, and it remains to be seen whether the Englishman has won over his manager ahead the top flight’s return.