Arsenal are reportedly working on a deal to try and sign Philippe Coutinho, with Barcelona eager to get him off their books in the January transfer window.
According to a report from the print edition of SPORT, as relayed by Sport Witness, Barcelona outcast Philippe Coutinho has emerged as a transfer target for Premier League giants Arsenal, who are working towards signing him in January.
Coutinho joined Barcelona around four years ago in a club-record deal from Liverpool. But the move has been a total disaster as the Brazilian international has never managed to live up to the expectations that came along with his price tag and reputation. A loan stint at Bayern Munich did not change much for the 29-year-old, who continues to be out of favour at Camp Nou.
With Barcelona in dire straits financially, the club are desperately trying to offload some unwanted players in the January transfer window. And Coutinho, who is one of the highest earners in the squad, is among those deemed surplus to requirements. Offloading him would not only get in some funds for the team but also clear up room on the salary bill.
There have been links with several Premier League clubs like Everton, Liverpool and Newcastle United, while former club Inter Milan are also believed to be interested in signing him. Now, Arsenal, too, have emerged as a potential destination for the playmaker as we near the January transfer window.
The Gunners have Martin Odegaard as their primary option in the No. 10 role, with Mikel Arteta opting to use Emile Smith Rowe on the left flank regularly this season. So, there is room for the Gunners to bring in another playmaker in the ranks to add that bit of creativity and flair to the side as they look to push for a top-four finish.
While Coutinho is a proven player in the Premier League, he does not exactly fit the mould of players Arsenal have been looking to sign under Mikel Arteta of late. Furthermore, he is likely to command huge wages as well and given his decline in recent seasons, and there is no guarantee that he will be able to perform at the level of his days at Liverpool.
Arsenal have already been burnt once by going down this way with Willian last season. And, a move for Coutinho, midway through the campaign, would be best avoided.