Philippe Coutinho to Arsenal: Raul Sanllehi’s transfer priority, Kia Joorabchian admission

Arsenal have been heavily linked with a move for Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho in recent months.

The Brazilian international has struggled at the Nou Camp since his £142million move from Liverpool in 2017/18, and the La Liga side are thought to be willing to cut their losses on the playmaker.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has already spoken about how he wants to add creativity to his squad, and Coutinho appears to fit the bill, with a reported loan deal possible.

With that in mind, here is a round-up of all the very latest on Arsenal’s reported pursuit of the midfielder and everything we know so far.

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Coutinho told to snub Chelsea transfer

Meanwhile, Coutinho’s compatriot – former Barcelona star – Rivaldo has urged the attacking midfielder to go back to the Camp Nou and prove himself.

“It looks like Bayern Munich won’t pay Philippe Coutinho’s option clause at the end of the season and the player is likely to return to Barcelona,” Rivaldo told Betfair. “I always thought Coutinho would adapt better to Spanish football than German, as there are some language and lifestyle issues that could be a little different for a Brazilian in Germany.

“Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone well for the player in either league and he will be returning to Barcelona. It’s up to the club and manager to decide whether he is going to have another chance next season or not.

“If the chance comes, Coutinho really needs to step up and show the great player he is, just like he did in England with Liverpool and has done with the Brazilian national team for which he is still an important player.

“I believe in his qualities and think much will depend on his will and mental strength. He must prove that others were wrong to write him off and that he can still make the difference for any team.

“Playing for Barcelona is a unique chance for a player and perhaps Coutinho’s experience in the Bundesliga has made him wake up and see that Barca could be the right place for him.

“Of course, it might not turn out to be the case and he could join a Premier League club (Chelsea seems interested). Barca might prefer to get back some of his investment in the player.

“I think Coutinho should fight to stay at Barca and try to convince the club of his qualities. That would be a real demonstration of his personality.”

Liverpool clause

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 and Spurs interest

Coutinho has been strongly linked with a return to England, with a potential return to Liverpool suggested in recent transfer windows.

However, the Mirror claim Liverpool are not one of four Premier League clubs interested in the 27-year-old.

Instead, Chelsea are reportedly set for a transfer battle with London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, while Manchester United are also in the race to sign Coutinho, according to Mundo Deportivo.

A loan move may be possible, with Coutinho’s wages a potential stumbling block for a permanent move.

Message for Coutinho

The Mirror also claim that a return to the Premier League is Coutinho’s prime objective, ahead of the summer transfer window.

And former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes Coutinho regrets leaving the Premier League over two years ago.

“If I was Philippe Coutinho, every morning I would wake up and think to myself, ‘Why, why, did I sign [for Barcelona] in Spain?'” Petit said.

“And do you know why I say this? Because, I can remember the time when I’d wake up, when I was at Barcelona, when I left Arsenal, and I was thinking the same way, ‘Why did I leave? Why did I leave? Why did I leave?'”

“And to be honest with you I am sure Coutinho has been asking himself the same question for a while now.”

Barcelona boss breaks his silence

Coutinho could still be a Barcelona player at the start of next season.

That’s the view of the La Liga giants’ head coach Quique Setien.

“He is still a Barcelona player. You have to pay the clause or a transfer fee to Barca. I think he can be here at the beginning of next season,” he told Radio Station RAC 1.

“I don’t know if he wants to come back or go away again, I have to talk to him to ask him. He is a great player, no doubt about it.”

Sancho deal

Any Coutinho decision Chelsea make could have an impact on Jadon Sancho’s future too.

Given the financial implications of the coronavirus outbreak, it would seem unlikely Chelsea would shell out huge sums on two creative players, especially given they have already signed Ziyech.

And ESPN believe that Chelsea have turned their attentions to Coutinho because they fear Sancho will complete a transfer to Manchester United.

No Coutinho talks ‘s senior club writer Alan Smith revealed during a Facebook live video last Friday afternoon that reports that Chelsea are in advanced negotiations with Coutinho are wide of the mark.

“If there was an opportunity for them to sign Coutinho, personally I feel he would be a pretty good fit,” Alan Smith said.

“Again it would depend on if, hypothetically speaking, Willian and Pedro both leave there are gaps they need to strengthen in.

“Coutinho, it’s not really worked out for him since leaving Liverpool but who’s to say he can’t turn it back on if he arrived back in the Premier League?

“If there is a decent deal at a reduced price to what you would expect, then it’s a move that a lot of clubs would jump at.

“It’s one to keep an eye on, but at this stage there’s no agreement or advanced negotiations as such on that end.”

Barcelona’s stance

Despite Quique Setien’s comments, Barcelona hierarchy remain keen to get Coutinho off the wage bill and according to Sport, the Brazilian’s agent Kia Joorabchian has been sounding out clubs in England over a potential move.

The report states that Barca are looking for a fee in the region of £84million for Coutinho, but would be willing to accept £65million – a huge decrease in value in the two years he has been in Spain.

Barca are also keen for the transfer away from the Camp Nou to be a permanent one, although they would be open to extending his current deal with Bayern for another year.

Newcastle open talks

In a fresh, and perhaps stunning, twist to the Coutinho transfer saga, Newcastle United are said to have entered the race.

Sport, via Goal, are reporting that the Magpies have made contact with the midfielder’s agents.

With a £300m takeover said to be close, could it be that United make a massive statement by signing Coutinho from right under the noses of Chelsea?

Newcastle prepared to pay £70m

Fresh reports in Spain suggest Newcastle are very serious about signing Coutinho.

According to EMundo Deportivo, the Magpies are prepared to pay €80m (£70m) to sign the Brazilian, provided their proposed takeover goes through.

This could be bad news for Chelsea and Lampard.

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.

Philippe Coutinho has been on loan at Bayern Munich having fallen out of favour at Barcelona. (Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images)
Philippe Coutinho has been on loan at Bayern Munich having fallen out of favour at Barcelona. (Photo by M. Donato/FC Bayern via Getty Images)

The report also claims Coutinho is also courted by Chelsea, with Arsenal wanting a loan deal for Coutinho.

Coutinho negotiations

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.

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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 £9 million 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.

Arteta’s plan

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.

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