Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has previously declared that he wants to add an injection of creativity to his squad.
The Gunners finished the previous season with a flourish, winning the FA Cup and qualifying for the Europa League in the process.
But Arteta will be keen to improve his side’s league position, and one of the players who has been touted as a potential signing to help him do so is Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian is currently on loan at Bayern Munich until the end of their Champions League campaign, but has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium in recent weeks.
With that in mind, here is a round-up of everything we know so far about Arsenal’s interest in the midfielder and where the Gunners stand in their pursuit of him.
Chelsea could get one over on Premier League rivals Liverpool should they lure Coutinho to west London.
But only if it’s a permanent transfer.
This is because of an agreement between the Reds and Barcelona which saw Coutinho move to Spain in the 2018 January transfer window for an initial £104.1m fee.
That price can rise to £138.7m if certain targets are met, but according to El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have paid just €15m (£13m) in add-ons so far: €5m (£4.33m) after he reached 25 games for the club and a further €10m (£8.67m) for helping the team secure Champions League qualification in his two seasons.
The Catalan giants are due to Barca pay an additional €20m (£17.35m) when Coutinho makes 100 appearances for the club, plus €5m (£4.33m) if helps them claim the Champions League.
If Coutinho were to leave the Camp Nou this summer he would fall short of the latter two targets, meaning in this scenario, the Reds would stand to lose out on €25million (£21.7m).
Arsenal begin ‘arrangements’ to hold talks
According to French outlet Le10 Sport, Arsenal have made their arrangements to start the first discussions with Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta reportedly dreams of being able to land Coutinho, with the midfielder keen on a return to the Premier League.
The report also claims Coutinho is also courted by Chelsea, with Arsenal wanting a loan deal for Coutinho.
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Philippe Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian is in negotiations with Arsenal over Coutinho and Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose.
The report claims both moves would be season-long loans with Arsenal’s financial situation meaning big money transfers are off the table this summer.
Elsewhere, Mundo Deportivo journalist Miguel Rico claims Gunners director Edu has provided a ‘technical endorsement’ of the player.
Guendouzi swap deal
Matteo Guendouzi is set to leave Arsenal this summer and Barcelona are prepared to offer the out-of-favour Philippe Coutinho in an exchange deal for the French midfielder.
That is according to a report in French outlet Foot Mercato which outlines how the deal could suit all four parties.
Coutinho looks likely to return to the Premier League this summer and the Gunners are among the clubs who are interested in the former Liverpool star.
Barcelona to offer two midfielders
According to FootMercato, Barcelona were willing to let Philippe Coutinho join Arsenal if the Gunners paid £45million and let Matteo Guendouzi head to the Nou Camp.
However, the Gunners snubbed the proposal, and Barcelona have now reportedly made another offer to the north London club.
Barcelona have offered veteran midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal to Arsenal in exchange for Guendouzi.
Coutinho request to Arsenal, loan fee
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Arsenal are still among the front runners to sign Coutinho from Barcelona and have already made an offer.
The report claims that Coutinho initially rejected Arsenal’s proposed offer from reduced wages, but the Brazilian has now made a U-turn and has asked Gunners chiefs to be given more time to consider his options.
Sport claim that Barcelona are still demanding a €20 million (£18m) loan fee for Coutinho and Arsenal would have to fund the majority of the midfielder’s £200,000-a-week salary.
Joorabchian opens door to transfer
Barcelona midfielder Coutinho is ‘very much open’ to sealing a return to the Premier League, his agent Joorabchian has confirmed.
The Brazil international left Liverpool in January 2018 to seal a move to the Spanish giants and the move has not worked out how anyone had imagined it would.
However, the former Inter Milan star is now looking at the prospect of returning to England for a second spell in the Premier League.
“It’s no secret he wants to come back to the Premier League,” Joorabchian told TalkSport.
“It’s still very much open. There is a lot of genuine interest.”
Liverpool can be denied windfall
According to The Express, part of Liverpool’s £142m agreement that saw Coutinho move to Barcelona included an appearance-based add-on.
The report claims states Jurgen Klopp’s side will be paid a further £17.5million, but only if Coutinho reaches 100 appearances for Barcelona.
But with the Brazilian on 74 appearances, Arsenal sealing a deal would prevent this from happening.
£9m transfer fee
Arsenal could pay just £9million to sign Coutinho on a permanent deal this summer, according to the Independent.
The report claims that the Barcelona man has been offered to both Arsenal and Tottenham, but a move to the Emirates is the more likely of the two.
Matteo Guendouzi is likely to leave the club at the end of the season, and one option is for the Gunners to use the midfielder as part of a swap deal for Coutinho.
A deal involving Gunedouzi going to Barcelona plus a £9 million fee for Arsenal to take Coutinho permanently has been suggested as a solution.
The Arsenal hierarchy are said to be weighing up the option, although interest from Juventus in Guendouzi could throw a spanner in the works.
Arsenal are among the contenders to sign Philippe Coutinho, and according to The Times, Coutinho is on Arteta’s list of transfer targets.
The report claims the Arsenal boss has targeted the former Liverpool star with the intention of switching to a 4-3-3 formation next season.
The Arsenal head coach is familiar with the system predominantly used at Manchester City, after working under Pep Guardiola for three and a half seasons. At the Etihad, City often field a front three with a midfield trio of behind.
The Brazilian earns around £9million per year at Barcelona. To take him on loan last season, Bayern paid around £10million in a loan fee and then took his salary on board.
Money is expected to be tight this summer at the Emirates, even allowing for Europa League qualification after the FA Cup triumph.
Sanllehi prioritises Willian despite Barca offer
According to journalist Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona offered Philippe Coutinho to Arsenal days ago but there is nothing advanced at present.
The Gunners are thought to be putting their effort into sealing the signing of Willian on a free transfer.
Chelsea reportedly made another contract offer to the winger, but that has been turned down.
Final hurdle as terms ‘agreed’
Arsenal and Philippe Coutinho have agreed personal terms, according to Spanish publication Catalan Sport.
The printed version of the publication has claimed that an agreement has been reached between the player and Arsenal, and now it’s just down to the Gunners agreeing a deal with Barcelona.
Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but Coutinho could be one step closer to a return to the Premier League.
Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian, who is closely linked with Arsenal director Edu, previously admitted his client would like to focus on the remainder of the Champions League campaign before thinking about a move.
The midfielder is still on loan at Bayern Munich, with the German club securing their place in the quarter-finals after knocking Chelsea out 7-1 on aggregate.
“Because the Champions League will run until August 23, it will be difficult for players like Coutinho to make any commitments or moves pre that date,” Joorabchian said before Bayern’s 4-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
“Because he has the Champions League at the moment, they have to qualify past Chelsea. And then he has got to play Barcelona, believe it or not.
“For him to make a commitment pre having finished the Champions League.
“He loves playing in the Premier League, he is adored playing in the Premier League and that is one of his priorities. He is not at all against staying at Barcelona.”
According to Sky Italy and Guardian journalist Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona have indeed offered Coutinho to Arsenal.
But it is claimed that Arsenal have been focusing on getting a deal for Willian over the line.
And with the Brazilian set to be announced, Arsenal can now switch their attention back to other signings, with a decision to be made on Coutinho.
What Philippe Coutinho has done on social media
Arsenal fans have been quick to notice Philippe Coutinho’s latest social media activity amid ongoing transfer talk.
The Brazilian midfielder has been heavily tipped for a return to England after his disappointing spell at Barcelona.
As a result, Gunners supporters have been keeping an eye on the Brazilian’s social media in recent weeks, given he has been linked with a move to north London.
Jurgen Klopp admission about Coutinho position
If Coutinho does return to the Premier League, Arsenal boss Arteta has already been told how he could get the best from the 28-year-old.
“He played his favourite position ten with us relatively seldom, he can play a great eight and a really great left wing”, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told Kicker last August.
“Because he is “strong enough in small spaces, but also absolutely fast enough for large spaces.
“Since Alessandro del Piero, who fired the balls into the corner from similar positions, I have not seen anyone do the same thing in this one Frequency, pulling inward from the left in closing actions.”
Coutinho forced through that move to the Nou Camp from Anfield, losing plenty of support on Merseyside for how he went about the deal.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was also critical of the Brazilian for the way he went about the transfer.
Wenger has not said much about Coutinho on record but Arsenal found themselves in a similar position to Liverpool around the same time in regards to their own players.
Coutinho came on in the 75th minute of the game against Barcelona and got himself on the scoresheet twice in a brilliant 8-2 victory for the Bundesliga side.
The winger’s two goals came within four minutes of each other, coming in the 85th and 89th minutes.
Arsenal ‘propose formula’ for transfer
Reports in Spain claim that Arsenal are looking to push through a move for Coutinho, with the Gunners proposing a formula for the Barcelona man.
Mundo Deportivo claim that Arsenal have offered to take the player on loan with a option to purchase next summer, similar to the deal that Bayern Munich struck last year.
However, it also claims that Barcelona are unwilling to accept that offer straight away with the Catalan club looking to sell the Brazilian in order to raise funds.
Therefore it may be a matter of playing the waiting game for Arsenal, although Coutinho is keen on moving back to the Premier League, putting the Gunners in prime position to complete a deal.
The forward is proven in the League, having impressed for Liverpool before his move to the Nou Camp.
Following last Friday night’s humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich – the club Coutinho is currently on loan at – Barcelona have made the decision to sack manager Quique Setien.
His departure means that Barcelona, who are poised to appoint former Southampton and Everton boss Ronald Koeman as his replacement, are set to start afresh next season, meaning Coutinho could get the chance to resurrect his career at the La Liga giants.
That is according to a report by Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo.
Barcelona looked certain to offload the midfielder once again this summer, but a new manager will mean fresh ideas and potentially a gateway for Coutinho to get his Barcelona career back on track.
Arsenal are one of the clubs who have reportedly been offered the chance to sign Coutinho on loan, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta looking to add creativity to his squad, but the arrival of Koeman could change the situation.
Whilst in charge of Everton in 2017, Koeman was asked on his opinion of Coutinho, with the player linked with a move to Barcelona at the time.
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