Paper Round: Philippe Coutinho welcomes Neymar return to Barcelona, Southampton’s managerial options
Philippe Coutinho would love to see Neymar back at Barcelona, while Southampton must start their search for a new manager with eight league games to go. It’s Tuesday’s Paper Round.
Coutinho welcomes Neymar return
Philippe Couintho would love to see Brazilian compatriot Neymar back at Barcelona. After Neymar left Barca for PSG in the summer, the Calatan giants bought Ousmane Dembele in August before signing Coutinho in January as they sought to replace the influential forward. However, reports suggest Neymar could leave Paris after less than a year, and Coutinho addressed the matter of his national team-mate potentially becoming a club team-mate.
Paper Round’s view: Back to Barca? Off to rivals Real? Even when injured, Neymar rarely has a day out of the gossip columns. It would be a shock to see the Brazilian spend just one season in Paris, picking up the league trophy but ultimately ending it in the physio room, and with no Champions League medal to boot. PSG will only invest more as they seek to claim Europe’s ultimate prize next season, and they will do all they can to keep Neymar, you can be sure of that.
Saints need a saviour
Paper Round’s view: Southampton are seeking that ‘new manager bounce’ late in the day, needing arguably three wins from their final eight games to survive – taking them to 37 points. Obviously four wins would take them to the magic 40, but it’s tough to see both Crystal Palace or Stoke picking up more than 12 points. A sweet side to go with this eight-game league battle for survival is the FA Cup. The prospect of a Wembley semi-final lying beyond Wigan could be the carrot the Southampton board need to tempt a new manager in, before handing them the stick to whip this failing side back into shape.
Utd lead Lewandowski race
Paper Round’s view: £132m for a 29-year-old? Well that almost certainly rules Chelsea out. Plus, are United really going to spend that much? Sure, that figure will (sadly) become par for the course for world-class, but common sense has to apply here – that money can be better spent.
£50m for Bellerin?
Paper Round's view: The report talks of Bellerin failing to live up to this potential – he’s 22, and has shown immense quality already, at a very young age. The Spaniard still has his best years ahead of him, and if Barca or Juve do indeed come calling, it would benefit all parties if that move went ahead.