Arsenal’s love affair with Philippe Coutinho has been in the making for a few seasons now.
The Brazilian playmaker continues to make his way into the Gunners’ transfer links every transfer window and was most recently linked with a move to London in the winter.
The move eventually collapsed, and Coutinho sought his way to Aston Villa on loan. Barcelona have slapped a permanent transfer price of €40 million on him should the Birmingham outfit choose to activate the clause.
Villa have two problems in their pursuit, though. Firstly, his salary is probably too huge for Villa, but that can be negotiated. More importantly, Arsenal have been gunning to sign him, and will push for the move in the summer, reports Fichajes.
Barcelona are more than open to the idea of letting Coutinho leave as long as their evaluation of €40 million is met. He was, after all, signed for nearly €140 million.
Villa remain in pole position for his signing given his incredible form since arriving. He has scored four goals and assisted three in ten games, winning Villa’s player of the month for February.
They will look to sit with Coutinho to renegotiate his salary, especially with Gerrard considering him a key component of his project, and openly speaking about his desire to sign him on a permanent basis.
“All I can do is give my opinion to (sporting director) Johan Lange, (chief executive) Christian Purslow and the owners. They are watching the games, and they will make the final decision. Phil has shown what he is capable of so far,” Gerrard said
What is interesting, however, is that Arsenal have two young players playing in a similar role as Coutinho in their squad – Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard. Should Mikel Arteta choose to bring in the Barcelona ace, who will make way out of the starting XI?