Arsenal are 4th in the Premier League on points but 7th for goals and only have one player in the squad with more than five assists this season, so it’s clear they could benefit from adding a playmaker to their ranks.
A desire for more creativity was why the Gunners signed Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal from Real Madrid last summer, but the 23-year-old has scored just one league goal in 2022 and is yet to make an assist this year. Sport believe Arsenal are already looking for an upgrade in his position – Philippe Coutinho.
The 29-year-old is currently on loan at Aston Villa and has greatly impressed under Steven Gerrard, scoring four goals with three assists in 10 Premier League games. Coutinho has created 15 chances, made 16 successful dribbles, whipped in 12 crosses, had 25 shots and has been fouled eight times.
Odegaard has averaged a goal in the league every 379 minutes and an assist every 631 minutes. Coutinho has averaged a goal in the league every 194 minutes and an assists every 259 minutes. The Brazilian international is clearly outperforming the Norwegian international, which may be why Sport say Arsenal are ‘interested’.
Villa have the option to sign Coutinho permanently for £33m this summer, but it appears Arsenal could hijack the deal. One issue might be the 29-year-old’s wage demands, however, as he earns £480k-per-week at parent club Barcelona and may not be open to taking such a big paycut.
And although Coutinho is very happy at Villa and could turn the move permanent in the coming months, the lure of playing Champions League football could be too strong for him to turn down. In addition to Barca, the Brazilian has played for Inter Milan, Liverpool and Bayern Munich in his career, so he’s used to being at big clubs.
That might be the clincher.