Newcastle 'watching' 105-goal star amid St James' Park swoop

Eddie Howe applauds the Newcastle United supporters

Newcastle United are ready to pounce and will look to bring Philippe Coutinho to St James’ Park if Aston Villa opt against completing his permanent switch from Barcelona, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Eddie Howe, who was appointed as the Magpies’ head coach last November, has started to identify targets ahead of the summer window opening for business.

What’s the latest news involving Coutinho?

Coutinho joined Villa shortly after the turn of the year, with his loan move from Barcelona including the option to buy for £33million.

But time is running out for the Midlands outfit to take advantage of that caveat as Spanish sources have revealed Villa have until the end of the month to decide whether they want to keep the Brazilian on a permanent basis.

Uncertainty over whether Coutinho will remain at Villa Park has put Newcastle, who became the richest club in world football following a £305million takeover led by the Saudi Arabia-based Public Investment Fund last October, on red alert.

The Magpies are reportedly prepared to offer a £1million bonus in a bid to entice Coutinho to St James’ Park, but Barcelona have maintained that negotiating with Villa remains their priority.

Barcelona are keen to cash-in on the 29-year-old as he will enter the final 12 months of his £380,000-per-week Nou Camp contract in the summer.

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What has Dean Jones said about Coutinho?

Jones understands Newcastle are monitoring Coutinho’s situation and remain keen on luring the playmaker to Tyneside.

The transfer insider believes the Magpies will make an offer if it becomes clear that his loan move to Villa will not be made permanent.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “Steven Gerrard still wants Villa to sign Coutinho, but Newcastle are watching this with interest.

“At the end of the month Villa have to tell Barcelona whether they intend to take up the option to buy him – and if they hesitate I’m told Newcastle will look to make a proposal to the player.”

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Why is Coutinho of interest to Newcastle?

Gerrard has previously described Coutinho as ‘world-class’ and it is hard to argue with that when you look at the numbers he has produced over the years.

The 68-cap Brazil international has chipped in with 105 goals since getting his senior club career underway.

Coutinho has also clinched a host of silverware – including the Copa America, Champions League and top flight titles in Spain and Germany – so it is clear that he is capable of bringing success to Newcastle.

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