PHILIPPE COUTINHO has issued a “come and get me” plea to Manchester United.
Barcelona’s Coutinho, 26, has confided in a number of United’s Spanish players that he would love a move to Old Trafford.
It is understood the former Liverpool man has grown increasingly unsettled in Spain since his switch there 14 months ago for a whopping £142million.
The attacking midfielder has only scored four La Liga goals in the current campaign, is in and out of the team and is not a favourite of the Nou Camp fans.
Barca’s £65m capture of Ajax star Frenkie de Jong for next season will also drop Coutinho further down the pecking order.
United are ready to splash big in the summer and know that Coutinho could be theirs for a knockdown £86m.
Caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already revealed he has told executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward which targets would be on his wishlist – whether he is permanent manager next season or not.
Coutinho would join a star-studded list of major Old Trafford signings since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Meanwhile, Solskjaer is already planning ahead for next season and getting Manchester United back to being title contenders.
Solskjaer has re-established United as a Premier League challenger after six years without winning English football’s biggest domestic trophy.
Now he is demanding that United do not just settle for a top-four spot next time around.
Solskjaer said: “We need more time to be challenging – but that’s what this club should be doing. The foundation is here.
“We just need to add a few attributes to the squad like what we saw against Paris St-Germain.
“There’s absolutely no reason why United shouldn’t be the hardest-working team in the league.
“We need to keep working on the fitness and next season the players know that they will be asked if they want to challenge the top. They have got to get the habits.
“They’ve got to improve all the time – because that’s what the best teams in the league do.
“There definitely is a gap now. There is a top two and then we’re in the next four. We’ve got to close that gap.
“I don’t know how many points we are behind them because I don’t look at that. But we have to do things step by step because you can’t close it in one big go. We’ve got to keep looking at it.”