Philippe Coutinho’s agents prepare move to London after Mikel Arteta gives green light

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Arsenal have been linked with the signing of Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho after the former Liverpool star became available for transfer, with the wheels of a potential deal turning

Philippe Coutinho has reportedly moved one step closer to joining Arsenal after Mikel Arteta gave the green light to pursue a transfer.

The former Liverpool star’s agents are said to be travelling to London for further talks with the Gunners amid speculation of a return to the Premier League.

And Arteta is keen for Arsenal to be the vessel for that, with Coutinho leaving England in January 2018 when Barcelona paid an eye-watering £142million for his services.

But things have not worked out for the 29-year-old, whose time in Catalonia has been blighted by injuries, the constant changing of managers and a loss of form.

Spanish newspaper Sport claim that the Brazilian’s entourage are headed to the English capital, with the hope of receiving a ‘firm loan offer’ from the Gunners.

According to Fichajes, Arteta gave his superiors ‘a resounding yes when approving the arrival’ of Coutinho, despite the plethora of creative talent he already boasts at the Emirates.

It is believed that the north London club would pay only part of the midfielder’s mega-money wages, with Barcelona still contributing to his £150,000 per-week salary.

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Coutinho is now under his fourth permanent manager since making the move to La Liga almost four years ago, having also been out on loan with Bayern Munich.

That boss is Barca legend Xavi Hernandez, who has handed the playmaker just one start since taking the Camp Nou hot seat.

Xavi has publicly praised Coutinho, though, while also suggesting that his issues when it comes to finding consistent form are more mental than physical.

“Coutinho is someone who can play in various positions and he can be important for the team,” the Blaugrana manager explained in November.

“He needs to re-find himself and recover his confidence. If he does, he will help us a lot. He has an innate talent.”

Xavi added: “It depends on him [to deliver]. He will get chances because he’s a player I like personally.

“It’s more psychological than anything because he has talent.”

Arsenal are enjoying some stellar form heading into the January window but Arteta is still open to bolstering to his squad.

“It would be useful to change something, even if it is never easy,” the Spaniard told reporters.

“We are working towards this, to understand what our needs are, and to find the right solutions.”

However, the Gunners boast a multitude of players who possess similar attributes to Coutinho, notably Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, who each contributed in the 5-0 Boxing Day drubbing of Norwich City.

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