Arsenal kick-start negotiations for Philippe Coutinho

    Arsenal have reportedly opened talks to sign the Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho, who will return to the base following an underwhelming loan spell at Bayern Munich

    Coutinho has spent the 2019/20 season at the Allianz Arena, registering just 15 Bundesliga starts for the perennial German champions after failing to impress at Camp Nou.

    The Brazilian playmaker left Liverpool to join the reigning La Liga holders in a blockbuster €160million deal in January 2018 but has never managed to establish himself as a permanent fixture in the Spanish side’s first-team.

    Coutinho will return to Spain in the summer after struggling to convince the Bayern hierarchy to exercise his £105million buy-out clause but is not a part of Quique Setien’s plans for the next season.

    Since he is not going to play for Barcelona again, the former Inter Milan man will have to find a new destination when the transfer window reopens for business, with several top European clubs credited with an interest in his services.

    After Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool expressing their appreciation for Coutinho’s qualities, Arsenal have now joined the race, looking to outfox stiff competition.

    According to BBC, the Gunners have already opened negotiations with the player’s representatives to discuss a possible summer transfer.

    Mikel Arteta is desperate to boost his offensive options to improve Arsenal’s chances of returning to the Premier League top-four next year.

    Yet, the London outfit will have to find a way to overcome a stumbling block in the form of Coutinho’s price tag, who certainly won’t come cheap despite enduring tough two years.

    Arsenal’s spending power this summer will be quite limited due to another year without Champions League football and the financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    At 28 years of age, Coutinho represents a natural successor of the outgoing German playmaker Mesut Ozil, who is expected to depart the Emirates in the summer.

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