Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has requested the club to sign Philippe Coutinho, according to Spanish media outlet Mundo Deportivo.
Coutinho signed for Barcelona in January 2018 from Liverpool for an initial fee of £105 million which could rise to £142 million based on bonuses. He has failed to justify his price tag in Spain and spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.
This season, he scored nine goals and provided eight assists in 34 appearances across all competitions. The Brazilian’s season is not over as Bayern Munich are still in the Champions League and look to be on course to progress to the last eight. The German champions were provided with an option to turn Coutinho’s loan into a permanent move but decided against doing so.
Barcelona are keen on moving the player on as he has very high wages and they would like to raise funds to recruit their primary transfer targets such as Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez. They are not interested in a player swap deal and would prefer to recoup some of the money they spent on Coutinho.
The Blaugrana would accept a fee of £72.3 million for the 28 year old but are also open to loaning him out for the entirety of next season. They would expect any club interested in signing the player on loan to cover his wages and pay them a loan fee.
Mikel Arteta believes the player still has a lot to offer and sees him as someone that can help lead Arsenal back to the top. He has requested the club to sign the Brazilian but appreciates that the player is more likely to be signed on loan if at all as a permanent transfer would be too expensive for the North London club.
Kia Joorabchian, the player’s agent, has close links to some members of the Arsenal hierarchy including head of football, Raul Sanllehi, and this could help the Gunners land the former Liverpool midfielder this summer. The Gunners are believed to have offered Matteo Guendouzi to the Spanish giants in exchange for Coutinho but this deal was rejected.
The player is keen on returning to the Premier League and his agent is working on engineering a move back to England. In addition to Arsenal, Newcastle, Leicester and Everton are also believed to be interested in signing Coutinho.
According to Francesc Aguilar of Mundo Deportivo, there are currently no offers for Coutinho and interested clubs seem more inclined to signing him on loan than on a permanent basis. The Gunners would be open to signing him on loan without an obligation to buy him at the end of the season but this would represent poor business for Barcelona as they are in urgent need of funds.
The Brazilian’s future is unlikely to be resolved before the conclusion of Bayern Munich’s Champions League campaign. Arsenal are also expected to have more clarity on their transfer plans after their FA Cup final against Chelsea. If they win that game, they will qualify for next season’s Europa League.
If no move for Coutinho materialises, he is open to staying at Barcelona and current head coach Quique Setien has indicated that he would be open to having the player as part of his squad next year.
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