Martin Keown rates Arsenal’s prospects of signing Philippe Coutinho

Arsenal focused on signing defender despite offer of Philippe Coutinho loan

And he is rumoured to be heading for a return to England, with Spurs last night joining their three Premier League rivals in a desperate late scramble to get a deal done by the deadline. With Barcelona dangling the carrot in front of a number of Premier League teams, it's hard to see where he will end up, if he moves at all.

Football fans were rocked with some odd news on early Tuesday, as reports surfaced suggesting that Barcelona's Brazilian star Coutinho, now the 5th most expensive player of all-time, was on the verge of joining Arsenal on loan.

Philippe Coutinho - on the move?

The Brazilian played under Pochettino during a six-month spell at Espanyol.

But Coutinho rejected a switch to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as he would prefer to stick around at Barca and fight for his place under Ernesto Valverde.

Now there seems to be yet another twist to the transfer saga with ESPN claiming that the Gunners were never interested in signing Philippe Coutinho but now Spurs are seemingly keen to bring him on board for the upcoming season.

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Manchester United's fleeting interest never progressed into anything firm, while Chelsea's transfer ban prohibited them from making a bid.

They do not want to sell Coutinho and are only prepared to loan him, something which would remove the Brazilian's big salary from the wage bill.

Valverde, speaking after Barca beat Napoli in a pre-season friendly in Miami in the early hours of this morning, said: "Of course I am counting on him".

But at least we know the club is desperately looking for a replacement for their former captain Laurent Koscielny and are now prioritising a centre back.

"The plan is the same".

"He's a splendid player, but we haven't talked about Coutinho at any time".

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