Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hopes to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer. And with Barcelona willing to take him off the books, there is a chance the Brazilian international could move to the Emirates. And, if that happens, it may be Arteta’s response to Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes.
Arsenal have already begun their transfer window fruitfully as regards the FA Cup triumph over Chelsea.
The Gunners took Willian on a free transfer, with the Samba star moving from the Blues to Emirates Stadium earlier this month.
And, by the end of the week, Arsenal should have finished signing Gabriel Magalhaes from Ligue 1 team Lille.
However, Arteta doesn’t want the revenue to stop there. He knows that after seeing his team finish eighth in the Premier League standings, they need more investment if they want to improve.
And that’s why Arsenal are watching Coutinho, who is expected to leave Barcelona as the La Liga giants try to raise money for new recruits.
Speaking on Sunday night, following Bayern Munich’s win over PSG in the Champions League final, the former Liverpool star admitted he should have talked to 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 just 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, the possibility that Coutinho will remain. But Ronald Koeman doesn’t seem to want him back, hence his interest in Donny van de Beek and Neymar.
And that means Arsenal have a golden opportunity to swoop for the 27-year-old, whose agent Kia Joorabchian previously admitted the playmaker would be open to a return to the Premier League.
Barcelona must remove it from the books. If not, the wage bill.
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And Arsenal, if they manage to sign Coutinho, could be the ticket for the Brazilian international to rediscover his best and most lethal form.
During his time at Liverpool, the Samba star was nothing short of sensational. A fundamental cog in the Reds’ car under both Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp on Merseyside.
He hit the ground running after moving in January 2013, scoring three goals and recording 10 assists in 13 Premier League games.
The following year, Coutinho was pivotal as Liverpool narrowly missed the Premier League title – finding the net five times and getting seven assists as they thrived under Rodgers.
Coutinho scored five Premier League goals and assists in 2014/2015 and, the following season, conceded eight goals and assisted his team-mates on five occasions.
In his last season at Liverpool, Barcelona’s flop scored 13 times in 31 league games and also racked up seven assists.
And this means that if Arsenal succeed in bringing him to the Emirates, they could have their own answer to Fernandes.
Coutinho struggled in Barcelona but it would always have been difficult to shine on the same team as Lionel Messi, especially when played out of position.
And the Gunners’ goal has never been able to return to its devastating best for Bayern, even if it helped them win the Champions League.
For Arsenal, it’s a signing that makes perfect sense as they look forward to better days under Arteta.