Unai Emery has dismissed reports suggesting that Arsenal have spoken to Barcelona regarding a move for Philippe Coutinho.
The 27-year-old Brazilian playmaker is heavily associated with a move away from the Camp Nou this summer but the powers that be have struggled to find a buyer.
Coutinho joined the Catalan giants from Liverpool in January 2018, following a drawn-out transfer saga, and the former Anfield favourite, according to the latest report, could be returning to England.
Barça, the story goes, are prepared to let him leave on a season-long loan, worth around £27.4m, with Arsenal seemingly identified as the club where he could be plying his trade.
However, thank link was soon rubbished by Gunners boss Emery, who has seen his club active in this summer’s transfer window. Before making Nicolas Pépé (Lille) their most expensive acquisition, Arsenal brought in Gabriel Martinelli (Ituano) and Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid, with William Saliba (Saint-Étienne) signed for next season.
The 13-time English champions, interestingly, faced Barcelona in their annual Joan Gamper Trophy game with the hosts triumphing 2-1. During the post-match formalities, Emery set the records straight.
“We’ve never talked about Coutinho,” he said.
“He’s a splendid player, but we haven’t talked about Coutinho at any time.”
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Coutinho’s struggles: Five key things to know…
- Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 for a reported £142m fee.
- But he’s since found it hard to lay down a regular starting berth under Ernesto Valverde.
- He has made 76 official appearances for Barca, registering 21 goals and 11 assists.
- Barcelona are open to selling him this summer or letting him go out on a season-long loan.
- His former club Liverpool and, now, Arsenal have ruled out signing the Brazilian playmaker.