Coutinho set for Newcastle switch

The Daily Mail reports that one of Newcastle United’s winter signings could be Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho. The 29-year-old Brazilian has struggled since his 2018 move from Liverpool, and is not expected to be part of Xavi’s plans. However Newcastle need reinforcements to prevent their relegation and they could agree to a loan-to-buy deal.
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Paper Round’s view: Newcastle need to vastly improve their squad as they are now almost totally rudderless on the pitch. They are out of form and their squad has to be motivated and coached well to make sure they aren’t relegated. While Coutinho is clearly a step up in quality, even in his recent form, he is far from certain to rediscover his best immediately, and Newcastle might need more.
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Emery confirms Newcastle interest after Villarreal’s 2-0 win against Young Boys

Xavi confident over Barca switch

Following Al Sadd’s 3-3 draw with Al Duhail, former Barcelona player Xavi Hernandez expressed optimism that a deal would be agreed to let him return to the Spanish side as their manager. Spanish newspaper Marca reported him saying: "I'm a very positive person, the two clubs are in talks. It's a question of common sense and in the end it's got to end up getting done. I'm excited. Both clubs know where I stand. I hope the matter can be tied up soon."
Paper Round’s view: Barcelona are close to having to write off their season if they do not get back to winning ways quickly. A spot in the Champions League next season is far from guaranteed and they are struggling to adapt with a squad that can’t get themselves together after a couple of years of upheaval and internal strife. Worse is that Xavi has no evidence in his managerial career to prove he can quickly fix this.
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Emery turns down Newcastle

The Telegraph claims that Unai Emery is unhappy with the approach from Newcastle United to get him to consider taking over at the club after they sacked Steve Bruce a couple of weeks ago. Instead, the Spaniard will remain at Villarreal. That leaves Newcastle looking at picking former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe by default, as the last remaining candidate.
Paper Round’s view: Newcastle’s owners seem to have spent so long waiting for the approval on their takeover deal that they did not have any fresh plans to hit the ground running mid-season. If they were serious about this campaign then they would have had at least three or four candidates that they knew they could appoint - fans will need to hope the transfer window does not go the same way.
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Everton target Baba

Everton boss Rafa Benitez is keen on signing Idrissu Baba from Mallorca, according to The Sun. The 25-year-old Ghana international has a £38 million release clause but Everton will start negotiations with a £10m offer. There is also interest in Inter Milan forward Alexis Sanchez, who has improved his form in Serie A recently, and Benitez is interested in the 32-year-old.
Paper Round’s view: Signing Sanchez on loan might appeal to Inter Milan as it would be a way to get rid of his sizable wages for half a year and allow younger players to come through. However for Everton they do not need to keep signing older players who do not improve, and a midfielder with potential might be a more sensible long-term investment.
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