Arsenal are reportedly the frontrunners to land Philippe Coutinho on loan next month, with the Barcelona outcast understood to prefer a move to the Emirates over their Premier League rivals.
Coutinho, 29, has been linked with a host of English clubs after falling out of favour at the Nou Camp. New Barca boss Xavi has informed the Brazilian that he can expect limited minutes under his stewardship.
Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Newcastle have been alerted to Coutinho’s decline at Barcelona and are all reportedly keeping tabs on the former Liverpool star.
And according to Spanish outlet Sport, Coutinho is leaning towards a switch to north London in January, with Mikel Arteta’s Gunners said to match both his ambitions and wage demands
Coutinho is aware that he would need to climb down from his staggering £200,000-per-week wage to seal a Nou Camp exit, but wants a destination that meets his goals on the pitch.
Newcastle appears an unlikely option for the Brazilian. Despite the newly-rich Magpies holding lofty hopes of disrupting English football’s elite, their current relegation struggles is understood to dissuade Coutinho from a move.
The 29-year-old has reportedly been offered to Arsenal and Tottenham in recent weeks, with the Gunners initially holding reservations over a loan move purely based on the finances over a deal. But if Coutinho is open to reducing his wage, a switch could be possible.
Barca are desperate to offload a handful of stars in the January window as they look to ease their financial woes. The club announced the £55million signing of Ferran Torres from Man City this week, but need to get the likes of Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti off the wage bill.
The Catalans this year announced that club debts had passed £1billion and a number of senior players including Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba took pay cuts to help the club.
Arteta has previously said of his January transfer plans: ‘It would be useful to change something, even if it is never easy.
‘We are working towards this, to understand what our needs are, and to find the right solutions.’
The Gunners currently occupy fourth spot in the Premier League, with youngsters Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Martinelli impressing for the north Londoners.