Fabrizio Romano has revealed that Arsenal were ‘really close’ to signing Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona this summer, until Ronald Koeman arrived that is.
The Brazilian left Liverpool in January 2018 to join the Catalan club in a monster transfer deal, but he initially struggled to find his feet.
After 18 months, he was allowed to join Bayern Munich on loan with an option to buy, but the Bavarian club opted against a permanent deal, despite helping them to Champions League glory, and instead brought in Leroy Sane from Manchester City.
Coutinho was strongly linked with a return to the Premier League this summer, before Ronald Koeman arrived to take over
reigns at the Camp Nou, and Romano admits that he was closest to joining Arsenal.
“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,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“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.
“Ousmane Dembele [was not close to signing for Liverpool] because [Liverpool made] a simple loan with no buy option. Barcelona were considering the move to let him play but in September they changed their position because they needed money to sign Depay.
“Always, the player said no to Liverpool and Juventus – the player said it was not a matter of money; he wanted to stay [at Barcelona].”
Arsenal in turn made alternative arrangements by bringing in Willian from Chelsea on a free transfer, but it would have been exciting to see if Mikel Arteta could have returned Coutinho to the kind of form he showed with Liverpool previously.
Would PC have been a big hit in North London? Would his signing have hampered our bid to sign Partey this summer?