Arsenal, Spurs set to lock Philippe Coutinho’s horns as cash-strapped Barca seek further payroll cuts


ARSENAL and Tottenham are set to fight for the signing of Philippe Coutinho in January on loan.

North London rivals both need to add numbers to their attack with an off-field battle in January.

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Philippe Coutinho is a loan transfer target for north London rivals Arsenal and TottenhamCredit: Getty
Coutinho in action against Cadiz

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Coutinho in action against Cadiz

Barcelona remain in financial disarray – with debt accumulated up to around £ 1.15bn – and therefore must do everything in their power to balance the books.

Getting another well-paid player out of the Camp Nou is therefore a priority.

And according to El Nacional, Barca are said to be willing to continue paying half of their £ 200,000 weekly salary in order to force a move.

The Spanish giants paid Liverpool £ 145million for Coutinho in 2018.

But it didn’t go as planned for the Brazilian star.

He has 24 goals in 93 appearances but failed to win over fans and was loaned to Bayern Munich, winning the Champions League in 2020.

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And this season, the ex-ace of Inter has only 82 minutes of action in La Liga.

To make matters worse, for Thursday’s goalless draw against Cadiz, Ronald Koeman put him on the bench in favor of two teenagers.

Arsenal brought in playmaker Martin Odegaard this summer on a £ 30million deal.

But if they can bring the 29-year-old back to the form of his days at Liverpool – Coutinho has managed 41 goals and 35 assists in 152 Premier League games – he would certainly be an asset as the Gunners try to return to Europe next season.

Spurs, meanwhile, are at risk of losing the Harry Kane talisman next year – but have signed striker Bryan Gil from Sevilla.

Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian last month hinted the playmaker would not rule out returning to Liverpool as he still appreciates the club.

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Joorabchian told Sky Sports: “I think Liverpool reside very, very deep in his heart, he was a huge fan of it throughout the game. [last] campaign.

“He wanted them to win the title and he has a very strong affinity there so I think it will be very difficult for him to go to a direct competitor from Liverpool from a personal point of view.”

But it is understood that the Reds are not interested in taking a step to bring their two-time player of the year back to Anfield.

Philippe Coutinho shows his skills in Barcelona training
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