According to Daily Express, as cited by Sport, Arsenal are keeping an eye on Philippe Coutinho. The Barcelona playmaker has emerged as the primary alternative for Martin Odegaard, whose loan contract expires at the end of the season. Although the Gunners are set to try their best in keeping hold of the Norwegian, Coutinho is believed to be the next best option as they already share a good relationship with the player’s agent.
Philippe Coutinho’s Downfall At Barcelona
Philippe Coutinho rejoined Barcelona following his decorated loan spell at Bayern Munich last summer, in search of a new life under the leadership of Ronald Koeman. While the Brazilian initially had struggled to get recognition at Barca, he did have a rather promising start to the campaign, by forming an attacking partnership alongside Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.
Coutinho’s influence, however, eventually waned before the semblance of progress got derailed by an injury that still keeps him out on the sidelines. In addition to injuries, the former Liverpool ace has fallen down the pecking order thanks to Pedri’s rapid rise to prominence while Francisco Trincao has also gotten a lot of recognition in the first-team recently.
Barcelona, therefore, are now keen on offloading Coutinho in the summer, not only due to his poor performances but also because of a hefty wage that makes him one of the highest earners at the club.
Is Coutinho A Good Gamble For Arsenal?
Given Coutinho’s struggles since leaving Liverpool, even during his loan spell at Bayern Munich, it is fair to assume that acquiring his services will be nothing less than a gamble for any European club right now.
As far as his move to Arsenal is concerned, the Brazilian would serve as a replacement for Martin Odegaard, who has added the missing creative spark in the final third. It is, however, fair to point out that there are significant differences between the two players, with Coutinho being a more versatile player, in regards to his positioning in the final third.
That said, the 28-year-old does offer invaluable experience, having played over 200 competitive matches for Liverpool. It should greatly help him settle in quickly at Emirates while his direct style of play should serve him well in the fast-paced nature of the Premier League, as indicated by his previous success at Anfield.
However, Coutinho could demand a hefty wage bill, thus crippling Arsenal’s financial firepower in the market – potentially preventing them from signing more quality players in the summer. It will be interesting to see whether the Brazilian is willing to take a cut, given the fact that his arrival at Emirates should make perfect sense, from a sporting perspective.