Philippe Coutinho has revived his career at Aston Villa but Arsenal could capitalize on their transfer situation and hijack a move for the former Liverpool midfielder this summer
Arsenal are reportedly monitoring Philippe Coutinho’s situation at Aston Villa with a view to hijacking a transfer.
The 29-year-old has enjoyed a career upturn since returning to the Premier League, having joined Villa on loan from Barcelona in the January window.
And while Steven Gerrard’s side have the option of buying Coutinho permanently at the end of the season for around £33million, the Gunners are said to be monitoring the situation closely.
If Villa are unable to secure the midfielder – having yet to agree a contract – Spanish outlet Sport claim Arsenal are waiting in the wings and ready to pounce for Coutinho, who has scored four goals and saved three assists in nine league appearances.
The Brazilian’s impact convinced Gerrard to give his club the green light to sign his former Liverpool team-mate, although Villa are unlikely to be able to afford sky-high wages similar to Coutinho’s Barcelona deal .
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Arsenal were linked with signing the playmaker in January, but he eventually ended up at Birmingham.
Since then, Coutinho’s form has seen Villa drift away from the relegation battle into their new era under Gerrard, who was appointed in November after Dean Smith was sacked.
And the Liverpool legend is desperate to have the Brazil international at Villa Park permanently, having spent two and a half years together on Merseyside before Gerrard retired in 2015.
“When he’s comfortable, he’s happy and he enjoys his football, we all know we’re dealing with world-class talent,” Gerrard told a news conference recently when asked about the future of Coutinho.
“To me, it doesn’t make sense to make any decisions now or say anything else about it, we just have to continue to enjoy it and keep it healthy through the end of this year. the season.”
In a separate interview, he explained how a decision would be made, saying: “I don’t control transfer fees or wages.
“All I can do is give my opinion to (sporting director) Johan Lange, (general manager) Christian Purslow and the owners. They are watching the games and they will make the final decision. Phil has shown what he is up to. able so far.”
Gerrard added: “Phil was successful at Barcelona, but he also had difficult times. He got to the stage where he needed a change of scenery and a different film.
“We want to be that movie for him because if we’re going to get to where we want to be, we have to build it around talent like Phil because at his best he’s a top player.
“All good teams have game changers who really worry the opposition before a ball is kicked. Phil has that status and he gives his teammates confidence.
“Our forwards Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings want him on their side because he delivers on the big stage.”
But without a decision being made, it could be Arsenal’s strikers who would benefit next season.