Arsenal have reportedly been offered the opportunity to sign out-of-favour Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho this summer, in a deal which could cost the Gunners as little as £9million.
Coutinho is still on loan at Bayern Munich as the Bundesliga champions prepare for the resumption of the Champions League next month, but the German side have passed up the opportunity to sign the Brazilian permanently.
With a reintegration into the first-team at the Nou Camp unlikely, Coutinho has been offered a return to the Premier League with both Arsenal and Tottenham, but a deal with Mikel Arteta’s side now looks more likely.
According to The Independent, Barcelona are open to the idea of a swap deal for Coutinho, involving Arsenal’s exiled midfielder Matteo Guendouzi moving in the other direction.
The report details that an option involving Guendouzi is being explored, in a swap plus cash deal which would see Arsenal pay just £9m to the LaLiga side.
However, the Arsenal board are waiting to see the outcome of Saturday’s FA Cup final before making any transfer commitments, with the impact of European qualification significant on their finances.
Arsenal need to win against Chelsea at Wembley to qualify for the Europa League, which would provide a budget boost for Arteta this summer.
Arteta is keen to invest in his squad, and sees Coutinho as an excellent option in midfield, particularly if Dani Ceballos’ loan move is not made permanent.
In addition, Serie A champions Juventus are also reportedly interested in Guendouzi, who has not featured since his war of words with Brighton’s Neal Maupay last month.
Arteta questioned the Frenchman’s maturity after the incident and has exiled the midfielder from first-team training after he failed to impress during a meeting with him and and technical director Edu.
Coutinho, meanwhile, has struggled for form since his big-money £140m move from Liverpool in January 2018.
Despite winning the LaLiga title in 2018-19 under Ernesto Valverde, the 28-year-old did not feature in Barca’s first-team plans this season, and went out on loan to Bayern.
And despite a season where he scored eight goals in 23 Bundesliga games, his career is currently in a state of limbo after Bayern passed up the option to sign the Brazilian permanently.
Signing Coutinho for £9m would be a huge coup for Arsenal. Arteta is plotting a rebuild but admitted he is concerned about a potential lack of funds this summer.
Speaking after Arsenal‘s victory over Liverpool earlier this month, he said: ‘
‘It’s a big concern. You can see how [Liverpool] build their squad and there is no magic, you need to improve the squad with quality, quality players.
‘And we need a bigger squad to compete in this competition. That is the challenge.‘