Philippe Coutinho has been heavily linked with Arsenal in the last two transfer windows, but they have chosen not to formalize their interest.
What did Arteta say about Coutinho?
Spanish manager Mikel Arteta explained why the Gunners didn’t press for a deal with Barcelona-based Coutinho, who is now shining on loan at Aston Villa. Coutinho returned to the PL four years from his £121m move to Barça from Liverpool in January as Villa signed the midfielder on a six-month loan. Philippe Coutinho has rediscovered his best form to help Villa climb back into the top half of the table and will likely be in Gerrard’s when they host the Gunners on Saturday.
The Brazilian footballer was linked to a number of other clubs prior to his move to Villa, including Arsenal who reportedly first expressed interest in Philippe Coutinho last summer. Mikel Arteta has now confirmed that Arsenal was investigating Philippe’s availability while looking for additional creative options, with a permanent deal for former Real Madrid player Odegaard eventually closing instead. Mikel Arteta said they looked at many different players with the quality that Philippe Coutinho obviously had and ended up going for another option.
A little about Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho has already appeared in nine PL matches for Villa, scoring four goals, including one on his debut against Man Utd on 15 January. The Barça tenant already has three assists already and Mikel is wary of the threat he will pose to his Arsenal side as they race to Champions League qualification. Asked if Philippe is Villa’s main threat, Mikel Ateta said he was one of them. Obviously the team does a lot of things when Philippe Coutinho is on the ball and he is in dangerous areas and he has contributed a lot to their attacking phase so obviously that is something they have to keep in mind. His ability to create goals and create chances, to open up spaces when they don’t exist is a quality he had when he was at Liverpool.