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'Not convinced' - Arsenal warned off Coutinho gamble by Winterburn as Willock impresses

6:15 PM IST 04/06/21
Philippe Coutinho Barcelona 2020-21 Arsenal
The former Gunners defenders sees no reason to snap up a former Liverpool playmaker when there are young stars coming through

Philippe Coutinho is said to be registering on Arsenal's radar again, but Nigel Winterburn is "not convinced" that the former Liverpool star, who has lost his way somewhat since joining Barcelona, is the right option for Mikel Arteta.

Each passing transfer window brings with it fresh speculation surrounding a Brazil international that left English football for Camp Nou back in the winter of 2018.

Coutinho's stock remains high in the Premier League, where he flourished across five years at Anfield, but the 28-year-old has regressed during his time in Spain - and during a loan stint at Bayern Munich - and it may be that he struggles to attract an elite suitor.

What has Nigel Winterburn said?

Former Arsenal defender Winterburn believes the Gunners should be steering well clear of what would be an expensive gamble, especially with a number of promising youngsters coming through.

He has, in association with FreeSuperTips, told Goal of the Coutinho talk: "I wouldn't go down that line, we've got a lot of young talent coming through.

"Unless he would be on the right wages or if there was a way to fit him in then it could be an option.

"It's been touted around so much I don't believe it'll happen.

"Coutinho was very good at Liverpool, but since then I've not been impressed and I'm not convinced by it."

Who could get a chance at Arsenal?

Arsenal have seen Emile Smith Rowe emerge as a potential long-term option for them in a creative No.10 berth.

Joe Willock could also fill that role, with the 21-year-old preparing to head back to Emirates Stadium on the back of a record-setting loan spell at Newcastle that delivered eight goals through 14 appearances.

Quizzed on whether the England Under-21 international could get a fresh start in north London, Winterburn said: "Willock went on loan to get a lot more game time in the Premier League and he's done that.

"It's difficult to assess them sometimes and that final step into the first team, we've seen it with [Bukayo] Saka who's been a revelation.

"But, one or two of the younger players who have been given a taste haven't managed to make the step like Saka.

"Willock has been very strong in the cup competitions, but in the Premier League he hasn't hit those heights for Arsenal.

"On the flip side, it might be down to the amount of game time he's getting at that level, but he's shown what he can do at Newcastle.

"He's a player I really like, so I hope he is given a chance to come in and fill that role."

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