Barcelona were considering selling Philippe Coutinho this summer and Arsenal were really close at one point, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Barcelona's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho shoots during the warming up before the 55th Joan Gamper Trophy friendly football match between Barcelona and Elche at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)
Barcelona’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho shoots during the warm-up on September 19, 2020. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

There were reports throughout the summer that Arsenal might make a move for former Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho. The Barcelona player had done well on loan with Bayern Munich, but not well enough for them to activate their expensive option to buy.

At first, it looked like he hadn’t impressed Barcelona enough either, and they might let him go. Fabrizio Romano claims Arsenal were really close to signing the 28-year-old at that stage, but the arrival of Ronald Koeman changed that.

“Before, Barca were considering to sell Philippe Coutinho and he was on the list to sell, so his agents were working to offer him to Tottenham, to Arsenal,” Romano told the Blood Red podcast (via Liverpool Echo).

“Arsenal were really close and at the start of August, they were ready. But once Koeman arrived, he understood it was difficult to sign other players, for example Memphis Depay.”

As a result, Barcelona held onto the Brazil international. He appeared in all of their first six games of the season, scoring twice and assisting twice, before picking up a hamstring injury. There’s no word yet on exactly how long he’ll be out.

From that point of view, Arsenal won’t be too unhappy they missed out on the player. But they do need some attacking midfield reinforcements, and it’s clear they were looking for them this summer.