By Noel Whelan

13th Nov, 2021 | 2:10pm

Newcastle fans 'in for a real treat' after Coutinho update - pundit

Newcastle could be “in for a real treat” if they complete the capture of Barcelona midfielder Philipe Coutinho, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 29-year-old playmaker could be a “match-winner” for the Magpies as they battle relegation.

According to SPORT (cited by Sport Witness on November 9th), Barcelona are “expecting” a bid from Newcastle for Coutinho in January, and will accept a loan proposal that includes a mandatory purchase option.

Coutinho could become the first marquee signing under the Magpies’ Saudi regime, who appointed Eddie Howe as manager earlier this week.

The Brazilian, who generally plays as a number 10, has played eight times in La Liga this season, scoring once.

Whelan insisted Coutinho needs a “fresh challenge”, and suggested a move to St James’ Park would “excite” the Newcastle faithful.

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“They are going to need these creative players this season to create chances for a front three who could bail them out of trouble,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

“I think when you’re looking at bringing a player like Coutinho in, there is always going to be question marks over the effort levels he is going to bring. It’s down to him how he rises to the challenge.

“I’m sure the fans will be excited by the signing; they will probably have the memories fresh in their minds of his last spell in the Premier League.

“He needs that fresh challenge, and if it’s Newcastle then the fans could be in for a real treat.

“If he’s playing at 100% then he can be a match-winner and difference-maker for them.”

In other news, pundit slams “childish” Tottenham as Newcastle United set for January transfer block.