Arsenal set to launch Philippe Coutinho transfer pursuit if Arteta fails to lure Martin Odegaard back in summer

ARSENAL will reportedly turn their attention to signing Philippe Coutinho if they're unable to permanently secure Martin Odegaard's services.

Norway international Odegaard is currently on loan with the north Londoners until the end of the season.


After a slow start to life at the Emirates, Odegaard has really come into his own over the last month-and-a-half – prompting calls for the club to sign him permanently.

Gunners chief Mikel Arteta is said to be keen on making the Real Madrid midfielder's deal permanent.

But according to The Daily Express, the Spaniard will look to pry Coutinho away from Barcelona's clutches if an agreement for Odegaard can't be reached.

They claim the Gunners will look take advantage of an appearance clause in Coutinho's contract with the Spanish giants in order to bring him back to the Premier League.

Cash-strapped Barca will reportedly have to pay Liverpool an extra £20million if the Brazilian makes 100 appearances for the club.

Coutinho, 28, has made 90 appearances for the Catalans so far but is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

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With the club in desperate need of cash to alleviate their mounting debt, they could very well opt to sell Coutinho in order to avoid activating his appearance clause.

That decision would be music to the ears of the Gunners, who were interested in signing the Brazil international last summer.

Arsenal fans, however, will be hoping Arteta will be able to permanently sign Odegaard, who played a key role in his side's comeback against West Ham last weekend.

Arteta said of the 22-year-old: “I think he had an incredible performance.

"He was very intelligent the way he read the game, the way he affected the game and again he showed how much he wants to win.

“When everyone was a little bit trembling, he gave us that composure on the ball and he created chance after chance.

“I love talented and creative players that all the time are willing to take that ball and make things happen, that are mobile and also hard-working. He is one of them.

“We have some others with different qualities but it’s true that Martin is now giving us a different level on certain things that we didn’t have.”

He added: “He’s been showing that from week one. When he steps on to that pitch, he always wants the ball.

“He commands the pressing and he’s been really influential.

"I think we are all happily surprised because he looks shy and humble but when he steps on that pitch, he is a real character. He loves to play football.”

Odegaard and his Arsenal team-mates will be back in action on Saturday week, welcoming defending Premier League champions Liverpool to the Emirates.

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