Even the most optimistic Arsenal fan must have doubted that Philippe Coutinho would ever wear an Arsenal jersey. It was all smoke and mirrors, a combination of the inventiveness of the failed head of football Raul Sanllehi and the murky imagination of super-agent Kia Joorabchian.
Had Sanllehi stayed, then there was more chance of the deal happening, but the duo would have had to convince Arsenal’s paymasters to come up with a significant sum to pay the player’s loan fee and wages. Very unlikely.
Kia Joorbachian found that his unlimited access route to the Arsenal throne room and vault ended the day Sanllehi was unceremoniously turfed out of the Emirates. At the same time, any idea of Coutinho heading to North London to assist the Arteta revolution simply ebbed away.
Those Arsenal fans that got sucked into thinking that Philippe Coutinho could somehow be persuaded to join a team where there was no obvious place for him will be deeply disappointed, but for those rational and grounded supporters among us, it was never a consideration.
Anyone seeing Coutinho’s performances for Champions League winners Bayern Munich must have realised that he would be retained by Barcelona under the new regime of Ronald Koeman. The player’s agent told talkSPORT:
“Koeman called him right after the Champions League victory with Bayern, the following day, and told him he’s very much in his plans and would like him to return. He was due to return on September 7 but actually, he returned at the beginning of September because he didn’t want to lose his momentum and fitness, and he’s been training with Barcelona.”
“All signs point to the fact Barcelona have changed quite dramatically, the way their philosophy of how they wanted to move forward from last year and the players they’ve brought in, like Coutinho, Dembele, and Griezmann they’re all going to be part of the squad this year.”
Shocker!! This is, of course, a complete reversal of the press coverage which went on week after week, promoting the player’s arrival even though it was clear that Arsenal were struggling to offload Mesut Ozil.
They had also agreed to the transfer of Willian in principle and needed to find additional cash for a new Aubameyang deal, so how on earth could they take on another big wage, reported to be £240,000 per week.
“If he (Coutinho) does come, I’ll do an entire blog by way of apology to Phillipe Coutinho and the reading fans, incorporating why I lacked the good sense to see how this deal could ever be made with Arsenals current money worries.”
Hindsight is a beautiful thing.