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‘Missing out on Coutinho is no blow for Arsenal’ - £40m loan deal made no sense to Winterburn

08:33 IST 16/08/2019
Philippe Coutinho Arsenal composite
The former Gunners defender is excited by the signings that were made over the summer and is not overly concerned by those who slipped the net

Missing out on a deal to bring Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League from Barcelona is no blow for Arsenal, says Nigel Winterburn.

It was suggested, as the Premier League deadline drew ever closer, that the Gunners were exploring the option of returning the former Liverpool playmaker to English football.

Barca were eager to part with the Brazilian in an ongoing effort to re-sign Neymar and Premier League sides were considered to be the best fit.

In the end, no agreement was reached, with some eye-watering figures said to have been demanded in what would have been a loan deal with the option to buy.

Former Gunners star Winterburn believes missing out on Coutinho is no bad thing for those at Emirates Stadium, with Unai Emery seeing plenty of other positive business completed.

“I don’t consider Arsenal missing out on Coutinho as a blow because I don’t think that it was ever realistic,” Winterburn told Sportingbet.

“Some of the figures that were bandied about, I’ve read that the deal could be worth up to £40 million, would have been an incredible investment from Arsenal for a loan deal and something that just cannot happen.

“He’s a terrific player, I think he would enhance most squads, but I don’t see it as a missed opportunity, because I was never convinced it was an option.”

Arsenal were able to find creativity elsewhere in the summer market, with a club-record £72 million (£87m) deal done for Nicolas Pepe after it became apparent that Wilfried Zaha could not be prised from Crystal Palace.

“Zaha would have been a safer signing than Pepe, as he is proven in the Premier League but I can only tell you who would have been the better signing come the end of the season,” said Winterburn.

“Pepe is not as well known on these shores as Zaha, so it’s hard to know if he can produce similar results to what we have come to expect from Zaha at Crystal Palace.

“However, from the bits that we have seen of him, we know that Arsenal have a very exciting player on their hands. As a supporter, I would have liked Arsenal to have signed both players!”

Another deal wrapped up by Arsenal involved Kieran Tierney, with the former Celtic star set to fill the left-back berth once occupied by Winterburn.

The ex-Gunners defender said of the Scotland international: “The Premier League is the most brutal league in the world, especially for defenders, but Kieran Tierney is a sensational signing and will have no problem settling in.

“He is a young player who has gained huge experience at Celtic, he has also played Champions League football so will be used to the quality of football.

“At the end of the day, I’m less worried about what a player has done before; I’m more interested in what happens when they come to your football club.

“Tierney fits the bill and is someone that will give Arsenal plenty of width and defensive skills down the left-hand side.

“He has been a player that Arsenal have courted for most of the transfer window, so I’m delighted that Arsenal have got the transfer over the line.”

Winterburn added on Arsenal’s window as a whole: “I’m more excited at this season’s prospects than I have been for a number of years.

“The last two years, particularly the away performances, have been nowhere near good enough for Arsenal for a Premier League side who consider themselves to be a top-four team.

“The signings Arsenal have made have reinvigorated the club, now we need the new players to deliver on the pitch!”