Barcelona playmaker would “be cheap” for Liverpool to sign but could also be an option for Arsenal or Leicester, says former teammate

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Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes one of his former team-mates could return to Anfield this summer.

Spaniard Enrique and Philippe Coutinho were both on Liverpool’s books between 2013 and 2016, when the Brazilian departed for Barcelona.

Coutinho has won two La Liga titles with Barca, but spent last season out on loan with Bayern Munich in Germany, sparking thoughts his long-term future may not be at the Camp Nou.

Enrique believes Liverpool’s top priority this summer should be to sign a number 9, but feels Coutinho could be a good option if the if the right striker is not available.

In his column for Empire of the Kop, Enrique wrote: “If Liverpool can’t go all-in for a striker this summer, we could bring Philippe Coutinho back. Barcelona are struggling with money and Coutinho is on a big salary there.

He added: “Maybe we don’t have to spend a penny, Barcelona still owe Liverpool money for his transfer years ago. He loves the city, he loves the club – I’m sure that if you ask him now if he’d have rather stayed at Liverpool, he’d say ‘yes’, 100%, it’s not gone very well for him since he left.

“I believe we would be able to sign him, he’d be cheap in terms of transfer fee, I believe that Barcelona will more or less give him to us for free and then money can be used for other signings.”

Coutinho only turned 29 last month, so still possibly has at least one big move left in his career.

A return to Anfield would certainly qualify as a big move, but Enrique thinks Coutinho could alternatively go elsewhere in the Premier League.

He explained: “If Coutinho doesn’t re-sign for Liverpool – but we should consider it, he’d be a great option for us – then I believe Leicester City would be a good choice for him because Brendan Rodgers knows him very well. Leicester have James Maddison, who is also very good in the same role, but Brendan would definitely have him.

“Arsenal could be another option, but the problem is with Barcelona – they have him on a massive salary and they’re pretty much going to have to pay him to go. I’m not sure if Martin Odegaard is going to stay with Real Madrid or go to Arsenal, but if he stays with Madrid, Coutinho could be an option for Arsenal because of the way Mikel Arteta plays. They’re not doing well at the moment, but Arsenal are a big club and it would be a good move for Philippe.”

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