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Arsenal news: Gunners ‘hatch plan’ to hijack Coutinho move despite Villa’s Barcelona pact | Football | Sport


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Arsenal are reportedly plotting a sensational hijack on Aston Villa‘s permanent swoop for Philippe Coutinho, despite their option to buy from Barcelona when his loan spell expires at the end of the season. The Brazilian has slotted straight back into Premier League life since joining up with Steven Gerrard in January, prompting some of the division’s heavy-hitters to sit up and take note. 

Coutinho dazzled for Liverpool in a five-season stint which ultimately prompted Barcelona to shell out a whopping £142million back in 2018.

His dream move did not work out though, and with a mammoth price-tag to live up to he was gradually phased out of the side as his performances and output left fans underwhelmed. 

Clued up on the extent of his talent, Villa boss Gerrard offered his former team-mate a lifeline in January by luring him to the West Midlands on loan. 

And he has been nothing short of sensational since, notching four goals and three assists in just eight Premier League outings. 

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And the Gunners may be in a healthier financial position to cope with such commitments, particularly if they see out their promising top-four bid this campaign. 

Furthermore, Mikel Arteta and co held onto their cash in January while Villa splashed out on full-back Lucas Digne. 

Barca are unlikely to kick up a fuss when it comes to Coutinho’s final destination, as long as he is off the wage bill and a line can be drawn under his disappointing stint at the Camp Nou. 

With the attacking midfielder’s performances commanding attention, the report states that West Ham and Tottenham could also join the hunt. 

Wherever his signature ends up, it looks as though a permanent Premier League return is on the cards for the 65-cap Brazil international. 

Gerrard is understandably keen to keep him at Villa Park and waxed lyrical about his loan star after victory over Leeds United on Thursday. 

“I don’t think the technical side of Philippe was ever in doubt and that’s the reason I was so desperate to get this signing in,” he said.

“When you get him in this place and he’s happy and he’s smiling, he can produce performances like tonight and he’s been one of our consistent players.

“The players are loving training and playing with him and I’m loving working with him again because if people knew what a humble kid he was and how hard he works and how he is around the place, he’s just a joy to be around.”

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