Tottenham are keen to sign playmaker Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona though north London rivals Arsenal have no interest in a deal, sources have told ESPN FC.
Sources say the Brazil international has been offered to both Manchester United and Tottenham. And while United have not completely ruled out making a move, Spurs are a more likely destination.
Coutinho played under Mauricio Pochettino at Espanyol and has maintained a great relationship with the Argentine coach. A source close to Coutinho told ESPN FC the chances of a return to England this month are “low” but not impossible.
A move to Spurs is seen as complicated and would depend on a number of factors. Christian Eriksen would have to leave the club — with United interested — while deals for Giovani Lo Celso and Bruno Fernandes would have to fail to materialise.
Further complicating any move is Coutinho’s wages and his hefty price tag. The former Inter Milan man, who Barca signed from the Reds for €120 million rising to €160m 18 months ago, is making £290,000-a-week and would likely have to take a sizeable pay cut or Barca would have to accept a loan to make a deal happen, with sources at the Catalan club saying a loan move is the last option.
Coutinho is out of favour at Camp Nou and reports in Spain and France have also linked the Gunners with the former Liverpool player, with some even stating that a deal was close to completion.
However, sources say that Arsenal are not in for the 27-year-old and never were.
After the recruitment of Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, William Saliba, who has returned on loan to Saint Etienne, and Gabriel Martinelli, Arsenal and Raul Sanllehi, their CEO in charge of football operations, are now focusing actively on recruiting a centre-back. It will have to be a loan, however, as Arsenal have spent all their budget on transfers for this summer.
RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano is no longer an option as a deal was too complicated to conclude, though Juventus’ Daniele Rugani is in the frame following a meeting in London this week between Sanllehi and Juve director Fabio Paratici.
Barca are actively looking to place Coutinho in the Premier League before the transfer window closes in England this week, but if a move to the Premier League fails to materialise, there remains interest from Paris Saint-Germain, with Barcelona still interested signing Neymar from the Ligue 1 champions.
ESPN FC first reported in May that the Blaugrana wanted to sell Coutinho, who became their record signing when they bought him from Liverpool in 2018.
Since then, there has been interest but no firm bids for Coutinho, who flew out to Miami with Barca on Monday. He was one of four players to train at Barry University on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s game against Napoli.
Information from ESPN FC’s Barcelona correspondent Sam Marsden was used in this report.