Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hoping to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer. And with Barcelona willing to get him off their books, there’s a chance the Brazil international could move to the Emirates. And, if that happens, he can be Arteta’s very own answer to Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes.
Arsenal have already made a fruitful start to the transfer window so far as they look to build on the club’s FA Cup triumph over Chelsea.
The Gunners have brought Willian in on a free transfer, with the Samba star moving from the Blues to the Emirates Stadium earlier this month.
And, by the end of the week, Arsenal should have wrapped up the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Ligue 1 side Lille.
However, Arteta doesn’t want the incomings to stop there. He knows that, after seeing his side finish eighth in the Premier League table, they require further investment if they’re to improve.
And that’s why Arsenal are eyeing Coutinho, who is widely expected to leave Barcelona as the La Liga giants look to raise funds for new recruits.
Speaking on Sunday night, after Bayern Munich’s win over PSG in the Champions League final, the former Liverpool star admitted he was due to hold talks with Barcelona about his future.
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“Of course, I have to go back to Barcelona and then we’ll see what happens,” he said.
“I haven’t really thought about it much, I’ve only been focused on the final.
“What I can say is that I really want to work hard to have a great year, but let’s see what happens.”
There is, of course, a chance Coutinho may stay. But Ronald Koeman doesn’t appear to want him back, hence his interest in Donny van de Beek and Neymar.
And that means Arsenal have a golden chance to swoop for the 27-year-old, whose agent Kia Joorabchian has previously admitted the playmaker would be open to a Premier League return.
Barcelona need to get him off the books. Failing that, the wage bill.
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And Arsenal, should they be able to sign Coutinho, could be the ticket to the Brazil international rediscovering his best and deadliest form.
During his time at Liverpool, the Samba star was nothing short of sensational. A vital cog in the Reds machine under both Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp over on Merseyside.
He hit the ground running upon moving in January 2013, scoring three goals and registering 10 assists from 13 Premier League matches.
The following year, Coutinho was vital as Liverpool narrowly missed out on the Premier League title – finding the net five times and clocking up seven assists as he thrived under Rodgers.
Coutinho managed five goals and five assists in the Premier League in 2014/2015 and, the season after that, bagged eight goals and assisted his team-mates on five occasions.
In his final season at Liverpool, the Barcelona flop scored 13 times from 31 league matches and also clocked up seven assists.
And that means that, should Arsenal succeed in bringing him to the Emirates, they could have their very own answer to Fernandes.
Coutinho struggled at Barcelona but it was always going to be hard to shine in the same team as Lionel Messi, especially when played out of position.
And the Gunners target was never able to get back to his devastating best for Bayern, although helped them win the Champions League.
Coutinho knows what the Premier League is all about and moving back to the country where he enjoyed the best football of his career could be the ticket to reigniting his faltering career.
For Arsenal, it’s a signing that makes perfect sense as they look ahead to brighter days under Arteta.