Arsenal are reportedly ‘studying’ the possibility of making a move for Philippe Coutinho despite the Brazilian having endured a quiet afternoon against the Gunners. Mikel Arteta’s troops have been linked with the Brazilian midfielder for some time, with it being suggested that they were interested before he sealed a move to Aston Villa.
Various reports from Spain have suggested that Arsenal were potentially considering making a swoop for his services. Now, it appears that they have made their mind up on a move after seeing him at close quarters in their 1-0 victory at Villa Park on Saturday.
According to Sport, the Gunners are exploring the possibility of securing his services when his loan spell with the Midlands club comes to an end at the end of the campaign. However, there is just one problem facing Arsenal and that is the fact that Villa retain a £33m clause to make his switch from Barcelona a permanent one and considering his performances for the club thus far, it would certainly not be a surprise to see them activate that option.
Since arriving at Villa Park in January, Coutinho has made ten appearances under Steven Gerrard. He scored on his debut against Manchester United, whilst adding a further three strikes to his tally. Coutinho has also set up his teammates on a further three occasions.
He was not quite able to continue that form against the Gunners on Saturday having endured a quiet afternoon. The Brazilian did almost have his say late on though as he forced Bernd Leno into a fantastic save with a free-kick in the dying seconds of the game.
It would certainly be interesting to see Arsenal make a move for Coutinho considering the competition that he would face should he arrive at the Emirates Stadium. Martin Odegaard is currently Mikel Arteta’s first-choice number 10, whilst Emile Smith Rowe is enjoying an extremely productive campaign under the Spaniard.
Meanwhile, Coutinho would also have to compete with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe for a place out wide. Arteta though has already revealed his admiration of the 29-year-old Brazilian having praised his abilities ahead of the trip to Villa Park.
Speaking in a press conference, the Arsenal boss said: “We looked at many different players with qualities that he obviously had and in the end, we went with a different option.”
He continued: “Obviously the team [Villa] activates a lot of things when he’s on the ball and he’s in dangerous areas. He’s contributed a lot when he’s in their attacking phase, so obviously it’s something that he need to bear in mind.
“His ability to create goals, and to create chances, and to unlock spaces when they don’t exist. That’s a quality that he had (and continues to have), when he was at Liverpool.”
Coutinho’s Barcelona deal still has another year left to run once he returns from his loan spell with Villa.