Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has warned Arsenal against a move for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian cost Barca a whopping £142million in 2018 but he will likely be on his way out of the Camp Nou this summer following a tough time for the Catalan club.
The Gunners have been consistently linked with a move for the former Liverpool midfielder given Coutinho’s agent is Kia Joorabchian, who is close friends with Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar.
Arsenal are looking for a creative playmaker this summer, but Winterburn urged Mikel Arteta to avoid Coutinho and play their youngsters instead.
“I wouldn’t go down that line, we’ve got a lot of young talent coming through,” he told Goal.
“Unless he would be on the right wages or if there was a way to fit him in then it could be an option.
“It’s been touted around so much I don’t believe it’ll happen.
“Coutinho was very good at Liverpool, but since then I’ve not been impressed and I’m not convinced by it.”
Arteta’s men struggled throughout the 2020/21 campaign, finishing eighth and crashing out of the Europa League against Villarreal, who are managed by their former boss Unai Emery.
However, two Hale End graduates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe were shining lights for the Gunners in an overall dismal season.
Another Arsenal youngster who was allowed to blossom last season was Joe Willock, who enjoyed a fine loan spell at Newcastle United during the second half of the season.
The Englishman scored in each of his last seven Premier League games for the Magpies and Winterburn hopes Arteta decides to keep him around at the Emirates next season.
“Willock went on loan to get a lot more game time in the Premier League and he’s done that,” he added.
“It’s difficult to assess them sometimes and that final step into the first team, we’ve seen it with [Bukayo] Saka who’s been a revelation.
“But, one or two of the younger players who have been given a taste haven’t managed to make the step like Saka.
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“Willock has been very strong in the cup competitions, but in the Premier League he hasn’t hit those heights for Arsenal.
“On the flip side, it might be down to the amount of game time he’s getting at that level, but he’s shown what he can do at Newcastle.
“He’s a player I really like, so I hope he is given a chance to come in and fill that role.”