Arsenal have emerged as the frontrunners to secure a deal for Philippe Coutinho on a season-long loan from Barcelona this summer.
Addressing a lack of creativity is at the forefront of Mikel Arteta’s plans this window – along with the obvious defensive issues – having struggled desperately in that area throughout the 2019/20 season.
One avenue the Gunners are following in a bid to bring in a creative player is to offer outcast Matteo Guendouzi as a makeweight in any deal, something that has been proposed to Barça as they attempt to lure Coutinho to the Emirates.
However, per the Evening Standard, this player-plus-£9m cash deal to secure him on a permanent contract is not something the Spanish side are overly keen on. Due to that, another loan appears the more likely scenario, with Arsenal leading the chase.
A temporary move to Bayern for Coutinho failed to end in a permanent switch, but Barça had still hoped to sell the Brazilian in the current window to inject some desperately needed additional funding into the club. Due to the effects of the coronavirus, this is nigh on impossible as they’re seeking €120m.
Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, has close ties to the Gunners’ board, with the relationship he has with the club and his client accelerating the possibility of Arsenal securing a temporary deal. The 28-year-old has been offered to Premier League rivals Tottenham as well, but Arteta is thought to be most enticed about bringing him to north London.
With three years left to run on his deal, Barça are resigned to keeping him on their books for another season at least, therefore shipping him out on another loan with the club in question paying a chunk of his wages is as good as they’ll get. Their wage bill is the highest in world football.
The 28-year-old’s annual wages of around €13.7m are too much for Arsenal to pay by themselves though, therefore La Blaugrana willing to subsidise half of that salary and charge the Gunners a €10m loan fee.
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