Philippe Coutinho swap deal decision will speak volumes about Arsenal’s new transfer policy

Philippe Coutinho may be an attractive proposition but there are various reasons why Arsenal shouldn’t sign him.

A resurgence in form under Mikel Arteta has led to widespread praise for the Arsenal head coach.

Back-to-back wins against Liverpool and Manchester City have shown highly encouraging signs for Gunners supporters as the season reaches its conclusion.

After both games, though, Arteta was the first to outline that they will need to strengthen in the transfer market in order to compete next season. The ultimate goal is seemingly to get back into the Champions League to be able to attract some of the top talent around Europe.

Recent form suggests that the Gunners are on their way to doing that under Arteta but being able to do so in the long-term will require an astute method of recruitment.

One player that has been widely linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium is former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian has endured a challenging time on the continent since moving from Anfield in a fee rising to as much as £142million. An unsuccessful spell at Barcelona has led to a loan spell with Bayern Munich and, while he has performed well, the German champions opted to turn down their option to buy the 28-year-old.

Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a return to Liverpool

Recent rumours of Barcelona offering Arsenal a swap deal between Coutinho and Matteo Guendouzi may seem appealing on the face of things. The French midfielder has been left out of the squad since the infamous 2-1 defeat to Brighton which saw him clash with Neal Maupay after the final whistle.

While it appears that Guendouzi is on his way out, replacing him with Coutinho makes little sense in the long-term for various reasons.

First of all, the finances involved in bringing the Brazilian to North London could prove highly complicated and perhaps not work in line with the tightrope that Arsenal will be walking this summer.

Barcelona’s financial struggles have been well documented in recent months and they are therefore believed to be keen on offsetting new arrivals by selling unwanted players. Coutinho certainly falls into that bracket and, even in the event that he came in a swap deal, his high wages might prove an issue.

On the pitch, too, Arteta’s use of a 3-4-3 formation in recent weeks suggests that the 28-year-old wouldn’t be the most natural fit.

His strengths lay predominantly in receiving the ball between the lines and find forwards within close range of the goal.

However, Arsenal’s system currently looks to build attack in wide areas or from deep which indicates that Coutinho might not be the type of player they should be looking to sign.

In addition to stylistic issues, it stands to reason that Arsenal look to be investing in youth – as shown by trust paid in Bukayo Saka and other youngsters.

The prospect of being able to sign a player of Coutinho’s calibre for a cut-price may appear attractive but the likelihood of it being worth investment in the long run is minimal.

As a result, resisting the temptation of signing the Brazilian this summer could prove to be a good indication that Arsenal are heading for a more understated and long-term style of recruitment under Arteta.


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