Arsenal will have to wait for some time to find out if Philippe Coutinho has picked the Gunners as his next club, with his agent revealing he will wait until after the Champions League to decide.
The Brazilian has spent the past season on loan at Bayern Munich, though the German champions will not take up their option to sign him permanently which has opened the door for other clubs to land him.
Although Coutinho had rejected Arsenal’s initial offer, he is reported to have made a U-turn and a move to north London appears his likeliest destination, with his agent, Kia Joorabchian, on excellent terms with the Gunners’ hierarchy.
Joorabchian has now confirmed that Coutinho’s preference is a return to the Premier League, though any final decision over the move will have to wait until after Bayern’s Champions League campaign.
Asked about the speculation surrounding Arsenal and Coutinho, Joorabchian told talkSPORT:
‘Because the Champions League is going to run all the way until August 23, I think it’s going to be very difficult for players like Coutinho to make any commitments or any moves pre that date.
‘Obviously he has the Champions League at the moment, they have to qualify for the next round through Chelsea, and then he’s got to play Barcelona believe it or not.
‘So there are some tough games ahead and for him to make a decision, pre having finished the Champions League, is a very, very difficult thing to do.’
Asked if he will decide afterwards, Joorabchian continued:
‘After the Champions League, I think it’s not been a secret, we’ve not kept it a secret, that he wants to come back to the Premier League if he can.
‘He loves playing in the Premier League, he adored playing in the Premier league, and I think that’s one of his priorities. But he’s also not at all against staying at Barcelona. So it’s still very much open.’
On whether there is concrete interest in Coutinho, he added:
‘There’s a lot of interest. There’s a lot of genuine interest in Philippe, obviously because he’s a great player and he’s a big success.
‘He’s been a great player in the Premier League, he’s been a great player at Barcelona, he did a good job in his first year. He’s won so many medals in the last three years. So there’s always interest.’
Barcelona are believed to be keen on a permanent deal for Coutinho to raise funds for transfers, though Arsenal would prefer to take the Brazilian on loan with the option to buy him outright.