In one of the more colourful stories to emerge from the January rumour mill, Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a departure from Barcelona less than a year after making the move from Liverpool – and Manchester United have been touted as a potential destination.
Since leaving the Reds last January, Coutinho has been reported to be unsettled at the Catalan giants, struggling to nail down a first team place as he has been left on the bench for each of Barca’s last four La Liga matches.
His lack of action seems to have spawned some knee-jerk transfer speculation, as Caught Offside ambitiously claim that he could be on his way back to the Premier League, and Manchester United are leading the way to sign the Brazilian.
The report claims that United are more likely than PSG, Chelsea or Manchester City to sign the 26-year-old, attributed to the fact they have made ‘early contact’ with Barcelona chiefs over a shock move, while no information is given on their stance on the matter.
While it would herald a decisive statement of ambition for United, however, his obvious connections with their great rivals Liverpool cast immediate doubts over the legitimacy of the claims.
Additionally, with United under the direction of a caretaker manager who has spoken about having too many attacking options as things stand – with Romelu Lukaku, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata all vying for places – it seems highly unlikely they would shell out £100m plus for another attacking player.
While not impossible, then, you’d have to suggest it’s not one for United fans to get their hopes up over.