Arsenal fans can rest easy today as the links with Philippe Coutinho are finally set to end with the player signing for former teammate, Steven Gerrard, and Aston Villa.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 16: Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona looks on during the during the pre-season friendly match between FC Barcelona and Girona at Estadi Johan Cruyff on September 16, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 16: Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona looks on during the during the pre-season friendly match between FC Barcelona and Girona at Estadi Johan Cruyff on September 16, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Aston Villa have pulled off a stunning deal to land Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona but Arsenal fans across the globe will be relieved that the club will finally stop being linked with him.

I’ve always been a Coutinho fan but Arsenal moving for him in this window, or even the last, never seemed like the right fit.

And Arsenal’s interest was genuine, last summer at least.

This window, however, it felt like their name was being used by his agent to generate noise in the papers and, given that he’s going to end up at Aston Villa, I don’t see any reason to change that view.

Less than a week ago, for instance, it was reported that Barcelona had offered Arsenal assurances that what happened last summer, when a deal was all but done only for Ronald Koeman to block the move at the last minute, would not happen again in January.

The 29-year-old has played just 608 minutes this season (with two goals).

Coutinho will turn 30 in June.

Arsenal were close to Coutinho before Koeman arrived

Barcelona were considering selling Philippe Coutinho last 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.

From that point of view, Arsenal won’t be too unhappy they missed out on the player.