How Arsenal could line up with Coutinho

Martin Macdonald
Arsenal and Coutinho are Barca’s last hope for a successful January

Arsenal and Barcelona are reportedly in talks over a swap deal between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Philippe Coutinho.

Even though the Gabon international is the club captain at the Emirates, his form has declined significantly in recent years, and the Gunners would allegedly be willing to let him go.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are desperately attempting to get rid of Coutinho in order to ease their wage bill and subsequent financial crisis.

After Ousmane Dembele failed to immediately replace Neymar in his first six months at Barcelona, the Blaugrana threw money at the problem again by purchasing Coutinho for an outrageous initial fee of €121m plus bonuses.

The move has turned out to be a disaster for all parties as Coutinho has failed to make an impact on the team, regularly taking up the same positions as Lionel Messi which is a no-go.

Even though Messi is no longer there, Coutinho is apparently not part of the first-team plans at Camp Nou.

A swap deal involving Coutinho and Aubameyang would represent an ideal solution for both clubs, as Arsenal are crying out for creativity while Barca are eager for attack reinforcements after the departure of Messi and Sergio Aguero's three-month injury lay off.

Arsenal line up featuring Coutinho

Bernd Leno will remain Arsenal's undisputed number one goalkeeper this season with Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson and Arthur Okonkwo in reserve.

For the majority of the summer it seemed likely that Hector Bellerin would leave which is why Arsenal have been searching for a new right-back, but news on a departure for the Spaniard has declined as the window has progressed.

Even so, Calum Chambers started the opening game of the season - a loss against Brentford - while Cedric Soares is also available.

At the moment, Arteta has Ben White, Gabriel, Pablo Mari and Rob Holding to choose from in the centre of defence.

White and Gabriel might get the nod for now, with Kieran Tierney first choice on the left.

Arsenal XI with Coutinho

Arsenal finally have options in that position now, though, after bringing in Nuno Tavares from Benfica.

With Manuel Locatelli having decided to sign for Juventus and Granit Xhaka's signing a new contract, the Switzerland international will be first choice in the middle of midfield, particularly after his impressive European Championship.

Thomas Partey will be his partner, with Albert Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny available too.

Should Coutinho be signed, it is likely he would take up the number 10 position in the team, probably with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka on either side.

Expect plenty of rotation between Coutinho and Smith Rowe, though, as both players are equally as comfortable cutting in from the right.

If Coutinho arrives, that means Aubayemang is away, which leaves Alexandre Lacazette as the senior choice for centre-forward.