Yesterday I was playing catch up on the game from Friday and so I didn’t really have the online page space to talk about some of the transfer rumours currently going around. Which is just as well, because the one that emerged yesterday that Sky Sports are now reporting on is that Barcelona want to sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang by swapping him with Phillippe Coutinho.
Euch, I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth there, such is the unease that even the rumour in itself gives me.
I’ve never been a Coutinho fan. I thought he was an overrated footballer when he was at Liverpool and having seen him basically stink it out in Spain, get farmed off to Germany and stink it out, then come back to Barcelona and basically deliver the square root of eff all in Catalonia, my view has only got worse on the player. When he was at Liverpool he was a YouTube player; a guy who’s highlight reel screamed long-shot merchant and I always thought he was the definition of the saying ‘you don’t win anything if you don’t buy a ticket’. Coutinho bought thousands of tickets, which is why once or twice a season he’d get a worldie. That’s it. That was his super power. Then Barcelona were stupid enough to believe in his hyper, drastically overpaid for him, which enabled Liverpool to build their awesome team they’ve had over the last four years.
And now we’re being linked with him in a swap deal with Auba?
Please let this be kicked in to touch by Arsenal as a concept. The hope is that all of the reporting is that Barca want to do it. There isn’t a story running that Arsenal are interested. I pray they’re not.
He’s 29-years-old and therefore would be going against what has at least been one of the sensible things about this summer i.e. we’re not buying people past their prime on expensive wages.
He’s a Kia Joorabchian client and therefore would bring another one back in to the fold after we’ve already managed to offload one of Kia’s men in Luiz at the end of last season.
He’s started to pick up injuries because of his age.
He’ll have no resale value and his wages will be through the roof. He’s supposedly on £383,000-per week. Why the hell would we take THAT on?
Seriously I can’t see ANY positive in this deal. I’m also hoping the financials in this deal also make it stupid. Coutinho’s wages mean that we’d be paying more for a player than we do for Auba and would leave us light in attack. VERY light. We’d have a Lacazette running down his contract, then the young prospects, so to me this deal feels like it’s wishful thinking from the Spanish press. I pray that’s all it is.
There’s also Barcelona’s plight. They are having trouble registering players so why would they offload one ageing star and get another one in? It wouldn’t help their current financial state in any way, shape or form.
If there was ANY kind of truth to this rumour then those people running Arsenal should be fired in to the sun. Edu, Richard Garlick, anyone involved in structuring that kind of deal should be dismissed immediately. Especially when you think that we’re supposed to be extremely hot on Martin Odegaard, who was left out of the Madrid squad entirely at the weekend. And that’s where I start to breathe a little more easily, because Odegaard and Coutinho play very similar positions. Can play centrally in that no.10 role, but have also played wide right or left. It is because of that similarity in profile that I am hoping that if Barcelona come to us and enquire about Aubameyang, we tell them to ‘do one’ in terms of Coutinho, because we don’t need him as we’re chasing down Odegaard.
That’s a signing I can get behind and I have to admit I am a fan. I saw signs of potentially a great player for us and if we had him on a permanent deal I think it would really give him the opportunity to flourish. He’d know that Arsenal is now his home for longer than a short term period, that he has a manager and a team in which he’ll feel valued, plus the adaptation period would be greatly reduced because he’s already had a six month loan spell in which he’s bedded in. His teammates would know him, they’d know his strengths, he’d instantly inject that bit more quality in to the sharp end of the pitch for us.
Honestly, I don’t know what there is to NOT like about this deal. I know there are some Arsenal fans that are less hot on him, some want James Maddison and are holding out for that. But Leicester won’t sell for anything less than over-the-odds and if we can get Odegaard for half the price of Maddison, then start to look at a right back and ‘keeper for the other half that we would have had to give to Leicester, wouldn’t that make infinitely more sense?
It would to me. Which is why I am hoping that the deal can be done. There are certainly the positive noises about it and we know Madrid need to sell. Odegaard also comes on low wages and so even if we dropped a £100k-per-week deal on his lap, he’s getting a massive uptick in his salary.
And in Odegaard we have a man with the technical ability and vision to unlock players like Aubameyang to play centrally and use the timing of his runs to start banging in goals. To me this feels like a no brainer and whilst I doubt we’ll see anything this week in terms of a deal being done, I have a feeling that next week we might get some good news. I’m hoping for it, anyway. I’ve written off the Chelski game as a defeat already anyway, so getting the deal done before kick off on Sunday is less of an issue given our problems.
So there we have it. The hope lies on Odegaard and on the fact that even this Arsenal back office admin team responsible for the transfer side of the business aren’t stupid enough to get Coutinho in. We hope.
Catch you all tomorrow.