Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is reportedly the driving force behind Gunners interest in sign Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho in upcoming summer transfer window.
The 27-year-old is currently on a season-long loan deal at Bayern Munich but the Bundesliga leaders have revealed they won’t activate the option to make the move permanent.
That means the Brazilian will return to Barcelona at the end of the season, where he appears unlikely to regain a place in the starting XI and even the Catalan giants have reportedly ready to sell him to raised funds for their potential transfer target.
And according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, claims Arsenal have emerged as surprise contenders in the race to sign Philippe Coutinho because of Arteta’s admiration for the midfielder.
The Spaniard coach believes the Brazilian would fit into his system perfectly and is determined to make it happen.
Any negotiation would be in the hands of Gunners Head of Football Raul Sanllehi.
Raul Sanllehi, who held the same position at Camp Nou before leaving in 2017, has a good relationship with the La Liga champions and also played a major part in Coutinho’s £130million move from Liverpool.
Yet it is unlikely Gunners will be able to afford a mega-money move for the ex-Inter Milan ace this summer.
Barcelona are reportedly demanding around £100m for his services, having paid an initial £105m to bring him to the Nou Camp in January 2018.
Spending that amount on Philippe Coutinho would prevent manger Mikel Arteta from strengthening in other areas, with Goal claiming a centre-back, right-back and box-to-box midfielder are all priorities.
Philippe Coutinho’s £100m asking price is said to be ‘well beyond Arsenal’s reach’ this summer.
The playmaker is not short of other options, however, as Chelsea, Newcastle and Leicester are believed to be in the running for his signature.