Arsenal may hold key Philippe Coutinho transfer advantage over rivals because of one man

Arsenal have reportedly entered into talks to sign Philippe Coutinho, according to reports from France.

Posted Tuesday, May 26, 2020 by

Arsenal may well have an advantage in their apparent bid to bring Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League. French outlet Le10 Sport claim that Mikel Arteta dreams of bringing Coutinho to the Emirates.

And the report adds that arrangements have been made for the Gunners to speak with the player's agent, Kia Joorabchian, to broker a deal.

It is not said whether or not any move would be a loan deal or a permanent switch, though Arsenal's limited finances would surely require it to be the former.

It might not be straightforward to sign him, with Chelsea among the other clubs reportedly keen, but Arsenal have an advantage over any competitors - Edu Gaspar.

That's because Arsenal's director of football has long-standing personal links with Coutinho's representative Joorabchian.

Arsenal may hold key Philippe Coutinho transfer advantage over rivals because of one man
Arsenal may hold key Philippe Coutinho transfer advantage over rivals because of one man

The Athletic reported well back in November that the Iran-born British businessman and Edu have close connections having done deals together at Corinthians and detailed the extent of their relationship.

Joorabchian is a fan of the Sao Paulo outfit, just as he is an Arsenal supporter, and the Brazilian club are where Edu started and finished his playing career.

He was also their director of football after hanging up his boots and famously brought in several Joorabchian associates, such as his client Alexandre Pato in 2013, who turned out to be one of the club's worst ever signings.

There were more successful signings, however, with Paulinho - who would go on to play for Tottenham - among them as Corinthians won multiple titles with Edu at his post.

The pair remain close and when Arsenal made Edu their technical director last year, it was Joorabchian - a boyhood Gunners fan - who was at the heart of the negotiations to make it happen.

And the super-agent's ties to Arsenal and to Edu surely offer them a jump-start should a deal for Coutinho become a reality.

Speaking back in April, Joorabchian told Sky Sports: "The fact I'm an Arsenal supporter is not a secret. I don't have any preference where the players go.

"I don't try to push someone to one club or another. Everything is a possibility."

But he went on to add of Coutinho: "The Premier League is something that he has always enjoyed playing in, and loved playing in, and would probably love to come back and play in."

The Brazil playmaker's stock has fallen in recent seasons but his productivity remains fairly high, having produced eight goals and six assists in 22 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich this term.

And in his five years for Liverpool, he became one of Europe's finest attacking midfielders, ultimately producing 41 goals and 37 assists in 152 Premier League appearances.

Factor in that Coutinho is still only 27, can play as a No 8 and operate on the left or right flanks rather than just a No 10, and the appeal is clear.

That is, though, provided a loan deal can be agreed - as a price tag that would likely reach £70million is well beyond Arsenal's reach after their spending last summer, the coronavirus crisis and their lack of Champions League football in recent years.

Even a loan would not be cheap though, and Coutinho would immediately become one of Arsenal's top earners, though perhaps he may be willing to take a pay cut to return to England - or Barca may be open to paying part of his wages.

Arsenal would also likely need to negotiate a deal that would only make the move permanent dependent in a year or two's time on certain conditions.

If the north London club don't qualify for the Champions League with Coutinho back in the team, his wages - and transfer fee - would be unjustifiable.

But Barca's desire to offload him to fund moves for the likes of Neymar and Lautaro Martinez means negotiations will prove tricky.

The Catalan club will want him off their books immediately to free up finances and allow them to move on, while Arsenal simply cannot afford a permanent deal - and will even likely be opposed to paying a sizeable loan fee.

Yet with the links to Joorabchian, there is reason to believe that an agreement can be found - and what an addition the goalscoring No 10 could prove to be.

Perhaps the South American, whose moments of magic were crucial to Liverpool getting back into the Champions League and eventually blossoming into the European titans they are once again under Jurgen Klopp, can be the talisman are likely to Arsenal need next term in the expected scenario that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moves on this summer.

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