Philippe Coutinho has emerged as a surprise transfer target for Arsenal after Mundo Deportivo revealed that his current employers Barcelona are working to seal a loan deal for the player.
According to journalist Rafael Hernandez on Twitter, there is speculation that officials from the two clubs will discuss a potential switch when the sides meet in a pre-season clash on Sunday.
Arsenal apparently trying to get Coutinho on loan. Strange rumour, the club officials are meeting at the Joan Gamper match this Sunday… Still, wouldn’t call it anything but meaningless buzz at the moment.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) August 2, 2019
However, with Barca having signed the player for £142 million in January 2018, it is thought they will not sell him permanently for less than £110 million, and even a loan deal could cost a whopping €25 million (£22.9 million) for a single season of his services.
That could put a spanner in the works of any move to Arsenal, who have just spent over £70 million bringing Nicolas Pepe to the Emirates Stadium from French outfit Lille.
It is thought, though, that the Gunners’ Head of Football, Raul Sanllehi, has a good relationship with the board at the Camp Nou and that could help them from a negotiating standpoint.
After missing out on Champions League football this term with a fifth-placed domestic finish last season and a Europa League final defeat to Chelsea, Arsenal have tried to rebuild in the transfer market over the summer.
In addition to Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli has joined from Brazilian side Corinthians, with Dani Ceballos loaned in from Real Madrid.
William Saliba was also acquired from Saint-Etienne, but the 18-year-old was loaned back for the 2019-20 campaign.
Seeing Coutinho in North London remains a long shot, but with his proven track record in English football and with Barca squeezing him out thanks to the signings of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, he may see Arsenal as an attractive proposition to rebuild his career.
The Gunners travel to Newcastle United for their first Premier League match of the new season on August 11.