Coutinho tipped to join Newcastle as first major signing of Saudi takeover era

Philippe Coutinho could become Newcastle United's marquee signing to herald the beginning of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund's control of the club.

That is the verdict from ex-Liverpool star Steve McManaman, who believes the Tyneside club will start splashing the cash before too long.

The Magpies have become the richest club in the world after the Saudi takeover, chaired by the gulf state's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.

His estimated value of around £320bn is more than all the other Premier League clubs combined and fans are excited to see who will be moving to St James Park in the future.

One name that has been floated around is Coutinho, who was big hit with Liverpool but has since faltered at Barcelona.

The Spanish giants are in a financial predicament after posting losses of around €500m (£422) for the year and had to let Lionel Messi go as a result.

But their mammoth wage bill means there will have to be more departures and Coutinho has been tipped to be one of them by McManaman.

He told Horseracing.net: “Though he scored against Valencia and he’s sort of back in favour, I would imagine Barcelona would like to get his wages off their books.

"Barcelona need all the help they can get at this moment in time!

“We know how good Philippe Coutinho is. And someone has to be the first signing for Newcastle.

"But when they’re negotiating with these players they have to make sure that they sell them this project. They have to make it an attractive offer.

“Right now, Newcastle are second bottom of the league. They’ve got to do something to try and attract these glamorous players.

"They’re in the bottom three and they can't buy anyone until January.

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Should Coutinho join Newcastle? Have your say below

"You have to get your own house in order before you start buying players. You don’t want to be panicking.

“If they want to bring in a really good player, it’s not how much money they’re going to give them, it’s what you’re going to build for the future: ‘What are your plans?’ ‘How are you going to make it better?’ ‘How are you going to turn it into this global superstar side?’

"If they can answer all this, then Newcastle United could be a very attractive proposition for players.”

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