Barcelona and Arsenal are set to have negotiations for a possible Philippe Coutinho deal this weekend during the Joan Gamper Trophy match between the two clubs at Camp Nou, according to multiple reports.
Now it is important to say this: there is not one credible source on this. The reports are coming from the Mirror, the Sun, Diario SPORT, beIN SPORTS and other places that aren’t exactly known for their accuracy, but the volume is such that it deserves some kind of attention.
There is no chance Arsenal have the money to make this a permanent transfer having just signed Nicolas Pépé as their most expensive transfer in history, but they did sign Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid in a deal that made sense for all parties: Madrid didn’t want to sell Ceballos for a low price but the player wouldn’t get many minutes, so a loan to a Premier League team that needed him will increase his exposure and perhaps improve his value for a future sale.
Barça are pretty much in the same situation: Coutinho is out of favor and isn’t expected to play much this season with more and better options in both midfield and attack, so moving back to the Premier League for a season would give him the chance to play a lot every week and maybe increase his value for a future sale next summer.
Arsenal would still like to sign one more attacking player to partner with Pépé, Ceballos and the two star strikers, Lacazette and Aubameyang, and Coutinho could fit in great with any combination of those players either as a central midfielder or wide player in Unai Emery’s system.
Once again it’s hard to believe these talks because of who’s reporting them, but it makes sense that Arsenal would use the opportunity to be at Camp Nou to try to get a deal done before the end of the English transfer window, which closes on Thursday. This may not be a story at all, but it’s worth monitoring.