The Mirror and other newspapers claim that Coutinho issued a tabloid-approved ‘come and get me plea’ to United, because he has been missing life in the Premier League.
A return to England may appeal because Coutinho has struggled in Spain with Barcelona, and the 26-year-old Brazilian international has made 39 appearances so far this season, scoring eight goals. He looks certain to pick up a league title this season, something that he completely failed to do in his time at Liverpool.
Whether United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer actually need the player is another matter. Coutinho can play across the front three and as a playmaker, which is his preferred position. However United are covered in that position with Paul Pogba, whose improved performances and commercial value make it unlikely that he would be sold.
Pogba, too, has failed to perform when further back on the pitch under Jose Mourinho and there seems little reason to meddle with a player who can be a match-winner more regularly than Coutinho.
On the other hand, it would annoy Liverpool fans for him to join United given the manner in which he left Liverpool, and as such it becomes impossible to tell whether a move for the player would be good or bad.
At £100m the player would essentially be available at the going rate. Given the amount of deadwood for Solskjaer to shift in the summer, it does not figure that they should spend the bulk of any transfer budget on a player that they don’t really need, with reinforcements mainly needed on the right wing, in midfield and across the defence.
If they lose David de Gea on a cut-price deal too, that will leave them completely chuffed.