Arsenal reportedly favourites in race to sign Coutinho

Arsenal are the best placed club in the race to sign Philippe Coutinho according to Spanish media outlet Mundo Deportivo.

Coutinho is keen on a return to the Premier League, a league where he excelled with Liverpool. He has since disappointed at Barcelona after moving to Spain for a big fee and gone rather unnoticed during a one year loan spell at Bayern Munich. The German champions had an option to turn the Brazilian’s loan into a permanent move but decided against it. 

The Brazilian’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, has been working on securing a move to England for his client. He has close ties to members of the Arsenal hierarchy including Raul Sanllehi, the head of football who is leading negotiations for a deal to sign the 28 year old. David Luiz and Cedric Soares, who are both clients of Joorabchian, recently signed new deals at Arsenal. His relationship with the decision makers at the North London club could greatly influence Coutinho’s next move.

There were rumours that the Gunners were willing to pay £45 million and send Guendouzi to the Camp Nou in exchange for Philippe Coutinho. This seems unlikely as Arsenal would be loath to spend a significant chunk of money on one of their targets in addition to losing an existing member of their squad. 

In any case, Barcelona reportedly have no interest in signing Matteo Guendouzi. They would rather find an agreement similar to the one they had with Bayern last year which would see Arsenal or any other club pay a loan fee and cover Coutinho’s wages for the entirety of the 2020/21 season. Bayern are believed to have paid a £7.2 million loan fee for the Brazilian. 

Leicester City and Newcastle have also shown an interest in the 28 year old but no club is on the verge of agreeing a deal for the player. Arsenal must beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final this weekend to qualify for the Europa League next season and their transfer plans could be altered based on the outcome of that match. 

It is unlikely that any move for Coutinho will be finalised ahead of the FA Cup Final or the conclusion of Bayern’s Champions League campaign. It is clear, however, that Arsenal are the front runners in the race for his signature. 

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