How a clause in Coutinho’s deal could benefit Arsenal – and cost Liverpool £20m

Robin Bairner
How a clause in Coutinho’s deal could benefit Arsenal – and cost Liverpool £20m

Barcelona’s desperation to offload Philippe Coutinho could benefit Arsenal and leave a large hole in the pockets of Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Coutinho signed for Barca in January 2018 from the Reds in a deal that could reach up to £142 million (€160m). The Brazil international, though, has failed to live up to expectations at Camp Nou.

READ MORE: Could Coutinho prove an able alternative to Odegaard at Arsenal?

In three injury-hit years, he has played 90 times for the club and scored only 24 goals. Indeed, his highlight during that time was a loan period at Bayern Munich, in which he helped the Bundesliga side to the Champions League title, even scoring twice against his parent club in the quarter-finals.

As such, he is set to go down as one of the greatest flops in footballing history.

Philippe Coutinho career stats

CLUBAPPS (GOALS)
Inter47 (5)
Vasco da Gama *43 (5)
Espanyol *16 (5)
Liverpool201 (54)
Barcelona90 (24)
Bayern Munich *38 (11)
* loan spell

Furthermore, Barcelona can scantly afford to gamble on him any further. If Coutinho reaches the milestone of 100 appearances for the club, cash-strapped Barca will be forced to shell out a further £20m.

Given their delicate financial position, Coutinho is not worth the risk.

Sport reports that Barcelona are eager to offload him to help contribute towards the club’s push for Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. They accept they are going to have to cut their losses, with Catalan publication indicating that he could be sold for as little as £35m this summer.

Even if a move for the Norway international is little more than a pipe dream, there appears little value in keeping the misfiring Brazilian, who is presently out with a knee injury.

Who wants to sign Coutinho?

Coutinho retains credit in England, where he starred for Liverpool in the Premier League

Coutinho retains credit in England, where he starred for Liverpool in the Premier League

Such a price still represents a relatively lavish outlay in the mid-pandemic market, in which clubs, like Barcelona, are generally seeking to limit their losses.

Premier League sides, however, are something of an exception and it could be that Arsenal position themselves to sign Coutinho in the summer.

Martin Odegaard’s form in the No.10 role for the Gunners has been eye catching, but they do not have a purchase option in his loan from Real Madrid. Given his long-term potential, it may be that Los Blancos choose not to sell him.

And that is where Coutinho comes in.

A proven performer in the Premier League, having starred with Liverpool from 2012 until 2018, he scored 54 goals for the Reds.

With that in mind, they may feel that he is worth a £35m gamble – especially as they were interested in him last summer, when his price was substantially higher.