Arsenal are waiting for a crucial update from Barcelona as they consider a formal offer for Philippe Coutinho, according to reports in Spain.
Coutinho, 29, is deemed surplus to requirements at Camp Nou after failing to live up to the eye-watering £142million deal agreed with Liverpool in January 2018.
Underwhelming performances on the pitch have been compounded by injuries, with the Brazilian playmaker managing just 14 appearances last season due to a rupture in his knee.
Nonetheless, Coutinho still has many admirers in the Premier League after his brilliant five-year spell with the Reds, and Arsenal are among the foremost suitors for his services.
The Gunners are actively preparing a bid for the former Inter Milan star, but first they want assurances over his injury status.
That’s according to Mundo Deportivo , which adds Emirates chiefs are searching for a new face in attacking midfield after Martin Odegaard decided to stay at Real Madrid.
While Coutinho has emerged at the top of Arsenal’s shortlist in this area of the pitch, the north London club have serious concerns over his rehabilitation from his current injury.
Coutinho suffered a rupture of his meniscus in late December and underwent a second surgery on the problem in April after failing to recover within the original three-month time frame.
He has played no competitive minutes in 2021 and missed out on this summer’s Copa America, which is controversially being played in his homeland.
The report from Spain does not specify whether Arsenal will table a permanent bid for Coutinho or pursue a loan deal, should they receive the clarity they are searching for from Barcelona doctors.
But it notes the Catalan giants are willing to pursue either option as they look to offload Coutinho from their wage bill.
A loan deal looks more likely at this stage, as there appear to be no offers on the table to sign the former Espanyol man permanently.
Coutinho has two years remaining on his contract and Barcelona are well aware they must pay another £18million to Liverpool when he reaches the landmark of 100 appearances.
He has played 90 games for the club to date, scoring 24 goals, and spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Bayern Munich.
Barcelona’s desperation to cut their losses with Coutinho may open the door to Arsenal to sign the player on favourable terms.
The Gunners have made no signings during the summer transfer window so far but that may be about to change.
The club are closing in on Brighton centre-back Ben White after agreeing a deal with the Seagulls worth a reported £50million, having seen an initial offer of £40million rejected.