What would Liverpool fans think of this one? Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho is considering a shock move to Manchester United, as he grows increasingly disenchanted with life at the Camp Nou.
Mundo Deportivo (h/t Manchester Evening News) are reporting that the Brazilian is unhappy with his lack of playing time in recent weeks, as he has failed to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the starting line-up at the Spanish champions.
Coutinho moved to Barcelona in a £142million deal in January 2018, winning La Liga and the Copa Del Rey during his first six months at the club. He has failed to push on from that this season, however, and has found himself in and out of the starting 11 over the last couple of months.
Much of that has to do with the role he is being asked to carry out. Ernesto Valverde has attempted to use Coutinho as part of a midfield three, a position he has struggled in. While many heralded him as the long-term replacement for Andreas Iniesta upon his arrival in Catalonia, he seems far more comfortable playing in a wide left role, as he did so successfully for Liverpool in his final two seasons on Merseyside.
With the player apparently unsure about his future, Manchester United are now monitoring the situation. Any potential deal would have to wait until at least the summer, as the Brazilian is unwilling to give up on his Barcelona dream just yet. Should his poor form continue, the situation will be reassessed at the end of the season.
While Coutinho will no doubt be surprised by his struggles in Barcelona, perhaps he should have heeded the advice of Jurgen Klopp. When the possibility of Coutinho moving to one of Spain's two biggest clubs was raised in May 2017, the German had this to say:
Stay here and they will end up building a statue in your honour.
Go somewhere else, to Barcelona, to Bayern Munich, to Real Madrid, and you will be just another player. Here you can be something more.
Those words perhaps ring truer now than ever before. While a statue of Coutinho outside Anfield may not have seemed absurd at one time, any ties he had to his old club will surely be severed should he make the move up the M62 to Old Trafford.
An ex-Liverpool star moving to United would not go down well amongst the club's fanbase. Players who turn out for both club are exceedingly rare, with Michael Owen and Paul Ince the two most recent examples.