By Noel Whelan

17th May, 2021 | 6:00pm

Whelan verdict on Everton potentially signing Coutinho amid reported house-hunting update

Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho would be an ideal signing for Everton – but his wages may prove a stumbling block.

That is according to ex-Premier League forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about what Everton need to go to another level next season.

The Sun reported on 1 May that the Toffees are confident of securing a deal for the 28-year-old, so much so that they have begun house-hunting for him.

Football Insider understands from Everton sources that Coutinho has been offered to multiple elite clubs ahead of the summer.

The 62-cap Brazil ace has been sidelined with a knee injury since the turn of the year.

That is the latest in a long line of frustrations in Catalonia for Coutinho, who spent the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Bayern Munich and won the Champions League and Bundesliga double.

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Whelan claimed that the ex-Liverpool man would bring the best out of Richarlison, James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a four-pronged attack.

“I think they need a number 10, someone like Coutinho,” he told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.

“Someone like that who is going to go in there and really bring the best out of Richarlison on one side and Rodriguez on the other, and Calvert-Lewin up there too.

“Bernard was that sort of player but it’s not really worked out. It’s not worked out at Bayern Munich for Coutinho and I’m sure he’s up for grabs.

“Whether they can afford him and his wages, that might be the stumbling block. But I’m sure he would enhance the two wide players and Calvert-Lewin up front.”

Everton suffered a blow in their bid for European qualification on Sunday as they lost 1-0 at home to Sheffield United.

That result leaves them in 8th place with two matches remaining.

In other news, Everton ready to listen to offers for recent contract signee in order to fund pursuit of A-list centre-back.