Published: Fri, August 09, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Arsenal in talks with FC Barcelona over Philippe Coutinho deal

Arsenal in talks with FC Barcelona over Philippe Coutinho deal

Arsenal's failure to qualify for the Champions League for a third successive season, compounded by an underwhelming transfer window, has left the Gunners facing a turbulent campaign.

Tottenham are favourites to sign Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho on a season-long loan, Sky Sports News understands.

The 27-year-old had been determined to make the move a success but has battled to win over supporters. His £290,000-a-week wages as well as his price tag - he was signed for €120 million rising to €160m 18 months ago - have made a potential deal very hard.

The Gunners started their summer spending with the addition of Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli.

Arsenal have become the latest Premier League side to see a swoop talked up, but Unai Emery has sought to distance himself from the rumours.

RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano is their top centre-back target and would cost around £70m.

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Of those asked, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have expressed an interest in discussing a deal. A source close to Coutinho told ESPN FC the chances of a return to England this month are "low" but not impossible.

"Every time we've spoken about it we've had that same conversation, he would find it hard to play for another club in the Premier League".

A move to Spurs is complicated, though, and would depend on a number of factors.

Spurs have distanced themselves from reports that they have submitted a formal offer and it is also understood that manager Mauricio Pochettino - who worked with Coutinho at Espanyol - has not called the player, as has been suggested, to try and persuade him to join the club.

It's understood few teams can afford Barca's £80m price tag they have put on the former Liverpool midfielder after they paid £142m in January 2018. He was one of four players to train at Barry University on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's game against Napoli.

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