Arsenal should consider joining the running for Philippe Coutinho.
As Arsenal fans we’ve perhaps become used to our club being a certain rung below the Liverpools and Manchester Uniteds of this world when it comes to the transfer market.
However, our signings have become increasingly ambitious down the years, with deals for the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and more recently Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe showing that we can compete with the best in the transfer market, even if not as often as our wealthier rivals.
It’s notable now that our name is not mentioned among those interested in a summer swoop for Philippe Coutinho in this report from the Daily Express.
They claim Barcelona are actively looking to offload Coutinho this summer for as little as £77million – a huge loss on what they initially paid Liverpool for him in January 2018, though of course still not insignificant money.
It remains to be seen what kind of budget Arsenal will have this summer, but remember just how much our ability to compete for mega-money deals was played down last year before the club-record purchase of Pepe (fee via BBC Sport) came almost out of nowhere.
Of course, the fact that Barcelona are so keen to get rid of Coutinho, currently struggling on loan at Bayern Munich, should perhaps set alarm bells ringing. We can’t afford to go spending that kind of money on a player who, despite being at what should be the prime of his career at the age of 27, may have peaked early and now continue to decline in years to come.
That said, we also can’t afford to be too picky right now, with Mesut Ozil’s total lack of form a real concern, and a replacement in that number ten role surely needed to make Mikel Arteta’s game plan work at the Emirates Stadium.
On the face of it, Coutinho looks ideal for Arteta’s style of play, and if he can regain his best form again with a return to the Premier League, £77m may even end up looking like a bargain before too long.
It’s also been pointed out by The Athletic that Arsenal’s move to hire Edu as technical director could also bolster links between the club and well-connected agent Kia Joorabchian, who counts a number of top Brazilian players as his clients, among those…Coutinho. This could give us a major edge in any transfer battle and that kind of connection can be priceless in the modern game, while the Brazilian contingent at the club could also be key to help Coutinho settle and rediscover his best form.
There’s no easy answer to this question, but the former Liverpool man’s availability presents a rare opportunity that we have to at least consider. Let’s hope in the weeks to come we can see Arsenal’s name also come up as a potential suitor for an elite talent who is surely not finished just yet.