Reports: Walcott, Coutinho to Barcelona
We may be three months away from the transfer window re-opening, but the rumors just keep on coming.
On Tuesday we heard about Cristiano Ronaldo potentially making a move to Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain next summer, and now two Premier League stars have been linked with moves to La Liga.
In separate reports both Theo Walcott and Philippe Coutinho have been linked with a switch to reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona. The Catalan giants are currently under a transfer embargo after breaking rules regarding the recruitment of youth team players but that ban is lifted in January 2016 and it seems like having attackers like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar around isn’t enough...
First up, let’s look at the Coutinho link. The 23-year-old Brazilian playmaker is good friends with Barca star Neymar and in a recent interview the captain of Brazil’s national team had the following to say:
Spanish outlet Fichajes believes Barca could make a move for the Liverpool star in January, and if the Reds fail to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season, Coutinho could follow in the footsteps of Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling in leaving Anfield for regular UEFA Champions League action and chasing titles.
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The other rumor from Spanish outlet AS is a little bizarre as Walcott only committed his long-term future to Arsenal over the summer by signing a new contract, but the England winger, 26, has been in and out of Arsene Wenger’s team to start the season and has been sharing minutes as a central striker with Olivier Giroud.
Walcott’s pace would undoubtedly be an asset to any team, but would it suit Barca and would he get in the team ahead of Neymar? Probably not. Getting Walcott in would be pricey for Barca and they’d have to look at UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules closely as he’d demand wages in excess of $230,000 per week, but after selling Pedro to Chelsea in the summer and then losing Rafinha through injury, they are a little thin on the ground in attack.
In the case of both of these players, it’s probably a matter of Barca having them both on their transfer shortlist and then keeping tabs on them over the next 6-12 months.