Arsenal have reportedly contacted Barcelona with an offer of a swap deal which, if accepted, would see Matteo Guendouzi leave the club and head for Catalonia in exchange of Philippe Coutinho.
This story, for a lack of a better word, comes from Catalan outlet Sport, who aren’t exactly what you’d call a reliable source of information when it comes to transfers, but let’s not jump to conclusions.
Guendouzi’s situation at Arsenal has been chewed over many times by now. He has fallen completely out of favour with head coach Mikel Arteta after a reported meeting between them and technical director Edu, which followed his post-match violent outburst against Brighton and Hove Albion forward Neal Maupay. The 21-year-old’s frustration after the final whistle is, perhaps, understandable up to a point, given that it was Maupay whose thuggish challenge caused injury to goalkeeper Bernd Leno and who ended up scoring the winning goal for the Seagulls.
However, he apparently showed no signs of remorse afterwards and simply wouldn’t accept responsibility for his actions when confronted by Arteta and Edu, and that appears to have sealed his fate when it comes to playing for Arsenal. Barcelona were among the clubs reported to be watching the developments closely, and it seems Arsenal have decided, if the report be true, to capitalize on the situation.
If they have indeed approached Barcelona to offer Guendouzi for Coutinho, it would be a bold move by the club’s hierarchy. Coutinho, although considered a complete flop at the Camp Nou, rose with Liverpool to become one of the finest players in the Premier League, which eventually prompted the Catalans to pay £142 million for his signature in January 2018.
However, it has been reported that Barcelona want €80 million to part ways with him permanently or €20 million to let him leave on a season-loan, which would also mean €10 million of additional expense on paying his wages. Sport, however, do not mention any specific details about the alleged offer from Arsenal – whether the Gunners propose a straight-up swap, which would seem far-fetched given the difference in proven quality between the two players, or if they would be willing to throw some money on top of Guendouzi.
All in all, Coutinho would represent a fantastic upgrade on the Frenchman, even though the Brazilian is significantly older (28), and if such a deal is possible, it would be a no-brainer for Arsenal.
But it’s really hard to expect Barcelona to accept such an offer unless a significant amount accompanies Guendouzi on his way to the Camp Nou.