What Would Coutinho Bring to Arsenal?

By on August 24, 2020

When it comes to Philippe Coutinho, there’s an equal spread of strengths and weaknesses. While the player made his name in the Premier League by displaying his keen vision as a midfielder, technical skill with the ball, and long, curved shots, the hype didn’t quite stick when he left England.

While the Brazilian star played at Anfield, he was known as ‘the Magician’. His performance with one of the world’s top clubs helped earn him a nod from the Professional Footballer’s Association when it came time to award a Team of the Year in 2015.

But in 2018, Coutinho was traded to Barcelona. While most footballers dream of the day they can play beside talents like Messi and participate in rivalries like those against Real Madrid, Coutinho seemed to be lost in the midfield.

When he was traded in 2018, he signed for a record €160 million. Since then, fans and pundits have wondered what led to the player’s struggles in Spain. By 2019, he was on loan to Bayern Munich.

It’s his time in the Bundesliga that many Arsenal fans have their eye on. While Coutinho’s performance with Barcelona wasn’t up-to-snuff, his time with Bayern Munich has re-certified the player as a talent to harness.

Performance with Bayern Munich

As undisputed champions of the Bundesliga and a top-tier talent throughout European club football, Coutinho’s move from Barcelona to Bayern Munich was a horizontal shift. In fact, the club posted a Bundesliga win this year that saw them a full 23 points ahead of their closest competition, Borussia Dortmund.

Coutinho found his footing amongst other top players like Robert Lewandowski and Alphonso Davies. As Bayern advanced in the Bundesliga and eventually charged into the Champions League, Coutinho strung plays together and attacked with a confidence not seen since his days at Anfield.

However, the Brazilian’s coup-de-gras came during the Champions League quarterfinals. Bayern Munich faced off against Barcelona—or, more appropriately, smashed the Spanish club.

Coutinho scored twice to leave the final score at a devastating 8-2. While the stunning loss for Barca meant that head coach Quique Setien was immediately replaced by Ronald Koeman, it’s unclear whether or not the new leadership will make a move to retain Coutinho.

Should Coutinho leave La Liga as a trade, he’ll be returning to the league where he first made waves with Liverpool—except he’d be wearing an Arsenal jersey this time. This move would mean Coutinho’s talent will be tested.

Any football pundit who wagers on top sports leagues across the globe knows that the Premier League is the gold standard for club play. While La Liga certainly isn’t far behind, the Brazilian star may have more success when not weighed down by the mighty Barça jersey. This certainly seems to be the case during his time with Bayern Munich.

Potential on Arsenal

In early August, Coutinho agreed to personal terms regarding a move to Arsenal. He held out to see if Arsenal would qualify for the Europa League. The club’s defeat of Chelsea in the FA Cup helped arrangements move forward.

While Coutinho and others are busy tallying trade deals, fans and pundits wonder what role the midfielder would play as part of the Arsenal squad. Some would like to see Coutinho return to a more creative style of play like that which earned him the nickname the Magician.

Arsenal fans would like to see more dynamic plays start in the midfield. However, others still question whether or not Coutinho can mentally overcome his time with Barcelona and relax back into a confident role in the center of the action.

The potential for a strong partnership between Pierre Aubameyang is an exciting prospect for many. Others have their eye on a Brazilian dynamic duo between Willian and Coutinho.

A deal is far from agreed at this point as there are still doubts about how Arsenal could afford such a transfer, but there is no doubt Coutinho would be an exciting addition if the Gunners could pull it off.