Philippe Coutinho could return to the Premier League
According to 'Mundo Deportivo' a couple of Premier League clubs could take the former Liverpool star, inluding one surprising option.
One of the players who Xavi has placed on the transfer list is Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has been given countless opportunities since he joined as the most expensive signing in Barça's history in January 2018. On top of that, he is one of the highest-paid members of the first team squad, earning 22 million euros a year. He is under contract until 2023 but Barcelona have now given up on him ever returning to be the player he was at Liverpool and hope an offer will come in for him in next month's transfer window.
According to the rumour mill, Coutinho could be heading back to the Premier League - the most likely destination is Newcastle, one of the nouveau riche clubs in English football. Antonio Conte's Spurs have also been linked. It's unlikely that he would return to Liverpool, who don't plan to make any reinforcements in next month's tranfer window. However, Mundo Deportivo report that there is a chance that the playmaker could end up back on Merseyside as Coutinho's agents have been in contact with Rafa Benítez's Everton.
Anfield idol to traitor
The rivalry between Everton and Liverpool goes back decades and even if Coutinho were to end up at Goodison, even through a third party and not directly, the move might disappoint a few in the red half of the city. Some Reds' fans were not pleased when the midfielder abandoned the club halfway through the season to join Barça. However, the more pragmatic supporters would argue that Liverpool benefitted from his sale, spending the 140 million euro transfer fee on buying Virgil van Dijk and Alisson.
If Coutinho accepts a move to Everton, the Merseyside derby would certainly gain an extra ingredient in what is already one of the most explosive fixtures in the Premier League calendar. Everton's reported interest in the Barça playmaker shows that the powers that be at Goodison don't have the same reservations as their neighbours when it comes to welcoming former players or coaches from the other side of Stanley Park - although lots of players have 'gone over to the dark side' over the years. The most recent example is manager Rafa Benítez, although his case is different as he didn't join Everton directly from the rivals and also he is local, being already based on Merseyside.
This season, after having fully recovered from the injury which kept him out of the side for the second half of last year's campaign, Coutinho has been given opportunities - as he was at the start of 2020/21 under Ronald Koeman. But in the 608 minutes he has spent on-field, spread over 16 games, he hasn't managed to convince Xavi. The coach doesn't see Coutinho as part of his medium-term project.