Philippe Coutinho Will Have One More Thing To Establish After £50 Million Deal For Newcastle

When you’re carrying the burden of a £142 million price tag, proving a point comes with the territory and Philippe Coutinho struggled to do just that at Barcelona.

It was the Brazilian’s ‘dream’ to play for the club but after missing the home World Cup in 2014, representing his nation on the biggest stage will be extra special in Qatar. Perhaps that was one major reason why he swapped Catalunya for B6 in January, and after feeling at home at his new club, he signed on permanently for Steven Gerrard’s side.

Four-and-a-half years after his record switch from Liverpool to Barca, Coutinho now has a big point to prove to Villa, to his former employers, and more importantly, to Brazil national team manager Tite. In a few months time, the final Selecao squad will be announced, which of course Coutinho will likely make but he’s after a spot in the starting XI.

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Coutinho will have to be at the top of his game for Villa in the opening weeks of the new season to put forward his case to start at the World Cup. He would be used in a number ten position while Vinicius Junior and Raphinha will likely take the two wide roles in Brazil’s frontline.

Up front, Richarlison or Gabriel Jesus could get the nod but for Coutinho to start in an attacking midfield position Neymar will have to lead the line, which he has done for Tite in the last two international friendlies against South Korea and Japan. During those games, Coutinho scored one goal but oreceived 12 minutes of action.

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Instead Lyon’s Lucas Paqueta took his place in the starting XI for both friendlies, which Brazil won 5-1 and 1-0. The midfielder has been linked with a big money move to the Premier League for a few years and cash-rich Newcastle United are said to be interested in a summer transfer this window. He could cost up to £50m, but he’d no doubt light up the English top-flight alongside his compatriot and former Lyon teammate Bruno Guimaraes.

Last month, The Times claimed that Newcastle were prepared to break their transfer record to sign Paqueta this summer as the 24-year-old had emerged as a major target for Eddie Howe. And, while a deal hasn’t progressed since the report surfaced, if Paqueta was to arrive in the Premier League, Villa’s Coutinho would be given an added incentive to perform at the peak of his powers to send a clear message to Tite with the World Cup fast approaching.

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So, over to you, Philippe. His performances in the opening months of the campaign could be spectacular as he proves a point to Brazil boss Tite, and begins his first full Premier League campaign since 2015/16.

 

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