Arsenal will miss out on Philippe Coutinho after Ronald Koeman decided to keep him at Barcelona, according to reports.
Coutinho’s move to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 has not worked out how he would have liked. He spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich – ironically scoring twice against his parent club in their shocking 8-2 defeat in the Champions League.
That result has prompted wholesale changes at Barcelona, with Koeman replacing Quique Setien as manager. And according to Marca, that could give Coutinho hope of resurrecting his Barcelona career.
The Spanish outlet claims Koeman has told Barcelona to keep Coutinho at the club. In fact, the manager has even pinpointed a new role to give the playmaker a second chance at the Camp Nou.
According to the report, Koeman could use Coutinho as a central midfielder, rather than in the more attacking role he operated in under ex-boss Ernesto Valverde.
Barcelona want to strengthen their midfield for their new coach, who is keen on Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum. Koeman worked with the former Newcastle player during his time in charge of the Netherlands.
Restoring Coutinho could be another option, and for that reason, Barcelona have taken him off the loan market.
Barca will only sell for high price
Previous reports had suggested they could loan the Brazilian out again. That led to intense speculation that he could return to the Premier League and join Arsenal.
However, Arsenal would not be able to afford his permanent signature. And now, Barcelona have decided that they will only let Coutinho leave if a big money offer comes in.
Therefore, it appears as if Arsenal’s pursuit of the 28-year-old has hit a dead end.