Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho is a man in demand ahead of the next transfer window officially opening for business.
The Brazilian international, who sealed a move to the La Liga giants back in January 2018 from Liverpool for a fee north of £140million, has so far failed to live up to expectation at the Nou Camp.
After a disappointing 2018/19 campaign with Barcelona, the former Inter Milan star was sent out on loan to German giants Bayern Munich at the start of this season in the hope that he could rediscover some of his true form.
Though he has not quite hit the levels he did during the latter days of his Liverpool career, which, of course, earned him the big-money move to the Spanish giants, he has shown glimpses that he is working his way back towards those days.
This term, Coutinho has racked up 32 appearances for Bayern, chipping in with nine goals and registered eight assists.
But his Barcelona future, however, looks in doubt, with the club, who are set to face an array of financial difficulties because of the coronavirus pandemic, open to the idea of sending him out on loan for a second season in succession, and it has put Premier League clubs on red alert.
Amongst the two clubs to have been most closely linked with a move for the 27-year-old are Arsenal and Chelsea, with both Gunners chief Mikel Arteta and Blues head coach Frank Lampard exploring all the possible avenues to bolster their respective squads ahead of the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
Over the last few days, Arsenal’s interest in securing a deal has soared, with reports elsewhere claiming that the Gunners had entered talks with the Brazilian’s agent – Kia Joorabchian.
However, Arsenal’s chances of being able to sign the former Liverpool star, despite the club’s technical director, Edu, being close friends with Joorabchian, are slim, with Chelsea looking the more likely to be able to attract the attacking-midfielder.
That is because, according to a report by Le10 Sport, Chelsea are in a much stronger financial position than the Gunners.
Plenty of financial uncertainty, of course, is surrounding clubs across the world right now, as they simply do not know what financial position they will be in once the window opens for business.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked with a plethora of names in recent weeks, including the likes of Thomas Partey, Dayot Upamecano, Nicolas Tagliafico, Kai Havertz and Mauro Icardi, meaning both clubs could still be able to make some room to manoeuvre in the next window.
But until the next window opens – though when that could be remains a mystery – clubs will not know for certain how their transfer budgets could look because it is impossible to predict how quickly normality will resume following the pandemic.