Arsenal were reportedly on the verge of sealing a deal for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho in the summer but the move broke down due to the arrival of Ronald Koeman.
Philippe Coutinho has been one of the bright sparks in Barcelona’s road to redemption under Ronald Koeman. However, according to Fabrizio Romano, as relayed by Daily Cannon, he could have been living a different life this season, as Arsenal were in pole position to secure his services in the summer.
“Before, Barca were considering to sell Philippe Coutinho and he was on the list to sell, so his agents were working to offer him to Tottenham, to Arsenal. Arsenal were really close and at the start of August, they were ready. But once Koeman arrived, he understood it was difficult to sign other players, for example, Memphis Depay,” Romano told the Blood Red podcast.
His comments do not come as a surprise as Mikel Arteta was, in fact, desperate to sign a creative player in the summer and Coutinho was among the players linked with a move to Emirates. Fortunately for Barcelona, it seems, Koeman’s wise anticipation has led to the club retaining his services this summer and the move has worked out for them thus far.
The Brazilian has been a major force the Blaugrana going forward, having built a solid partnership alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati. Although Coutinho’s essence has faded to an extent, especially after a hamstring injury that has kept him out for the past two matches, he has certainly provided better output when compared to Antoine Griezmann.
As far as Arsenal are concerned, their failure to sign a creative player has proved to be significant for the club as the Gunners are currently one of the least inventive sides in the league, in terms of productivity and overall chance creation.
Arteta’s decision to deploy Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a wider attacking position is yet to pay dividends this season while on the flip side, it has restricted the likes of Bukayo Saka to become more expressive in the attacking positions. As a result, Arsenal have provided the lowest amount of key passes among the traditional top six clubs so far this campaign.
Meanwhile, the Gunners have also left midfield maestro Mesut Ozil out of their Premier League squad, with the German playmaker expected to leave the club following the expiry of his Arsenal contract next year. And having missed out Coutinho, it remains to be seen how Arteta plans to replace him in the coming summer.