Arsenal have made an offer for FC Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho, which included cash and want-away midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, according to Spanish outlet ‘Sport’.
The Catalan club are reportedly asking for €80m to sign the midfielder, who has spent this season on loan at German champions Bayern Munich, however the Gunners are trying to lower that fee by offering a player in the deal.
A loan deal is also being pushed by Arsenal due to the amount of money Barcelona are asking for, however the Spanish side much prefer a straight cash deal to fund other areas of priority.
Sport also reported that Coutinho rejected Arsenal’s advances previously as it meant he would need to take a pay cut, although in recent days, he has asked the Gunners for an extension of time to allow him to make a decision on his future.
Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian spoke with Talksport this morning and gave substance to Sport’s story, saying the Brazilian wants to return to the Premier League. Kia Joorabchian said: “Coutinho loves playing in the Premier league, he wants to come back. There’s genuine interest from clubs.
“We’ve not kept it a secret that he wants to come back to the Premier League if he can… I think it’s one of his priorities, but he’s also not against staying in Barcelona so it’s very open.”
Coutinho would add something Arsenal have desperately missed this season from midfield, and that is goals and creativity. In the Bundesliga, Coutinho scored eight goals and got six assists for Bayern Munich in 23 appearances, which is far superior to any Arsenal midfielder this season, and is also more than the entire Gunners midfield combined.
In the Premier League this season, Arsenal’s midfielders made a total of 13 goal contributions, with Granit Xhaka and Mesut Ozil being the most influential, recording one goal and two assists each. This is a very worrying stat for manager Mikel Arteta, however the addition of Coutinho would go a long way to helping the Gunners discover some goal scoring threat from midfield.
Coutinho’s signing, although unlikely, would also help Arsenal creatively. The North London side rank 16th in the league for chances created, with their top creator in the league, Mesut Ozil, not featuring in their last 11 Premier League games. Despite having the most expensive front three in the league, the Gunners have failed to utilise them efficiently this season due to the lack of chances they have been given by their teammates.
An attacking midfielder is one of the many areas Arsenal need to improve in before the start of next season, however with their limited finances, a deal for Coutinho would almost certainly have to be a loan.
Unless Arsenal manage to sell a lot of their players for a good price to raise some money, or if owner Stan Kroenke invests into the club, I believe this transfer is very unlikely to happen.