Arsenal have been named among the Premier League clubs who are unwilling to meet Barcelona’s demands over a proposed loan move for Philippe Coutinho.
As reported by ESPN, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have all been offered the chance to sign the Brazilian playmaker for the 2020/21 season after Bayern Munich allowed their option to buy him for €120 million expire. In the current circumstances, which nobody could have foreseen a year ago when the loan deal was agreed, the Bavarians obviously felt the fee to be far too high and refused to trigger the option.
The situation has left Barcelona, Coutinho and his representatives searching for another solution to the problem, which clearly indicates that he still has no place in the Catalan team.
But to loan him out for a season, Barcelona apparently want a £10 million loan fee. On top of that, they insist that the loan club should be paying his £250,000 weekly wages in full. Now, you may have read a piece here on My Arsenal Blog which dealt with an aspect of the Coutinho links, and suggested that his move to Arsenal would make sense – but only if the deal was structured in the right way financially. However, these demands from Barcelona, in the current financial climate in football, seem completely unrealistic. At that’s putting it politely. The ESPN report raises an interesting issue here; the Arsenal squad agreed a 12.5% pay-cut in April, set to last for 12 months. If he joined, would Coutinho be asked to do the same? If so, would he agree? If not, how would the rest of the players react?
The report also claims that the other Premier League clubs, named above, feel the same way as Arsenal on this matter, and that Barcelona and Coutinho’s agent are now trying to sound out potential suitors elsewhere.
A host of players from clubs around the world have spoken about ‘dreams’ of playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, but the current predicament of the former Liverpool star should perhaps serve as a lesson. A player whose ceiling is extremely high, a player whose talent is very great indeed and whose potential was believed proven not so long ago; and yet, a player whose club paid a lot of money for him but doesn’t want his services, and a player no club wants to sign because of his unrealistic price.