Arsenal have emerged as favourites to sign Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona this summer as the Brazilian looks set to return to the Premier League in 2020-21.
Arsenal are willing to offer Matteo Guendouzi in a player-plus-cash deal to secure a permanent transfer, but Barca are not interested in the French midfielder and are in no hurry to sell. Therefore another loan for the Brazilian is more likely at this stage.
Coutinho is currently on loan at Bayern Munich after an indifferent season-and-a-half at Camp Nou, but the Bundesliga champions will not be taking up their €120 million option to make the move permanent this summer.
Bayern paid a loan fee of €8.6million for the former Liverpool player and removing the Brazilian from the wage bill at Barca – the highest in world football – helped the Catalans to balance the books.
Barca had hoped to sell Coutinho this summer for a fee in the region of €80m, but the financial effects of the coronavirus crisis make that almost impossible.
The 28-year-old has been offered to a number of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Tottenham, with Gunners’ boss Mikel Arteta believed to be keen on taking him to north London.
Coutinho’s annual wages of around €13.7m are prohibitive for Arsenal and Standard Sport understands Barca would be willing to pay half his salary, although the Gunners would be charged a loan fee of around €10m for the Brazilian.