It’s looking good for Arsenal in their pursuit of Philippe Coutinho, even if it’s not yet clear whether the Barcelona flop will be joining on loan or in a permanent transfer.
While a few years ago this might have seemed like a no-brainer, there’s no doubt it’s a slightly risky deal for Arsenal to be pursuing now, with Coutinho not looking the same player he was at Liverpool since he left Anfield for the Nou Camp.
Once one of the Premier League’s great entertainers, Coutinho has looked a shadow of his old self at Barca, though there were perhaps signs of improvement on loan at Bayern Munich this season, even if not quite enough to make a permanent move to the Allianz Arena look likely.
Arsenal, however, could be on to a real winner if impressive young manager Mikel Arteta can work his magic on the 28-year-old, who, at his best, could be an ideal fit for the style of football the Spanish tactician will be keen to play at the Emirates.
Mesut Ozil is clearly out of favour after barely featuring towards the end of the season, but the stats below from Sam Dean highlight that there is a clear issue in the side without the German playmaker linking things up in the final third…
Ozil has often been a divisive figure at Arsenal, and as he turns 32 in October, it seems unlikely he can really raise his game enough to be the kind of number ten Arteta wants.
Coutinho, however, could be just the man for that role, whilst also offering more of a goal threat than Ozil ever did, with his long-range shooting and ability to cut inside from the left flank one of his trademarks at Liverpool.
A return to English football could be just what Coutinho needs to get back to his best, and he and Arteta seem a good fit, with the risk also a great deal smaller for the Gunners if they can get him on an initial loan.