Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Brazilian star Philippe Coutinho could come true this summer, it has emerged.
The former Liverpool architect, who has struggled to impress at Barcelona ever since swapping Anfield for the Nou Camp in January 2018, was heavily linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium last summer as Gunners boss Mikel Arteta looked to strengthen his attacking-midfield options.
However, after several months of speculation and rumours, no deal ever materialised, largely because the former Inter Milan star was offered fresh hope with the La Liga giants following the arrival of Ronald Koeman as the club’s new manager.
This season, Coutinho, who spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich, helping them win the UEFA Champions League, had seen his opportunities increase at the Nou Camp until he was struck by a major injury blow, meaning he has not yet played in 2021.
This more or less sums up the Brazilian’s time in Spain, with him having struggled to ever replicate the form and class that earned him the move just over three years ago.
Despite Barcelona landing the midfielder for a whopping £142million fee, he could be sold this summer at a much cheaper rate.
That is because, according to a report by Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona must pay Liverpool another £20million if he reaches 100 appearances for the club.
At the time of writing, Coutinho has featured 90 times for the La Liga giants, meaning he is just ten games away from that clause within the deal being triggered.
With that in mind, Barcelona may have to make a decision over Coutinho, having been dealt several huge blows in the past 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit almost every club across the globe in one way or another in an economic sense.
It has been reported in Spain that Barcelona may instead look to sell him this summer to stop Coutinho from reaching the 100 appearances that would trigger that particular clause.
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Should Barcelona be openly wishing to offload him this summer, it could alert Arsenal once again as they are likely to remain on the hunt for a central-attacking midfielder, especially if Martin Odegaard does not return on loan from Real Madrid or sign on a permanent deal.
Adding a permanent fixture to the No.10 position has been a top priority for Arteta over the last 12 months. During last summer’s transfer window the club was desperate to sign Lyon ace Houssem Aouar, but ended up prioritising a move for Thomas Partey instead.
Should Madrid not allow Odegaard to return to the Emirates Stadium, Coutinho could be a valid candidate to fill the position he will have vacated ahead of next season.