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Arsenal gun for Coutinho; Manchester United try a double-deal for Dybala and Mandzukic


Arsenal, even with their depleted finances, are making a bid for Barcelona forward Phillipe Coutinho following their £72 million acquisition of Lyon winger Nicolas Pepe. Coutinho had left Liverpool a couple of seasons ago on a £143 million deal to Barcelona, the transfer fee being still paid by the Catalan giants in instalments. Which is one reason the La Liga giants are keen to ensure any club that takes the Brazilian covers the transfer costs. Catalan Radio claims that Barcelona will demand a £27 million loan fee if Coutinho were to leave temporarily. 

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder’s value reportedly stands at £110 million which is much lower than what he came to Nou Camp for two years ago. Coutinho has fallen down the pecking order at Barcelona following the acquisitions of defender Frankie de Jong from Ajax and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann. Arsenal and Barcelona chiefs will meet tomorrow to come to a decision on Coutinho as the two clubs are set to clash in the pre-season Joan Gamper Trophy. But given Arsenal’s financial stress, the Brazilian’s price tag could be a major stumbling block. Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea had all shown interest in Coutinho earlier but now have gone cold and turned their attention elsewhere.

Arsenal are still making a bid for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney despite deals of £15 million in June and a recent one of £25 million being turned down. But the London club are increasingly confident that an agreement can be reached for the 22-year old Scottish defender before the transfer deadline closes on August 8.

United are considering Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic as a back-up if the Romelu Lukaku-Paulo Dybala swap deal doesn’t go through. United have been keeping tabs on the 33-year old former Croatia international with coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to preserve his striking options next season and Mandzukic, more than Dybala, looks keener on a move to the Premier League. Mandzukic has netted ten times for Juventus in 2018-19 in his 33 outings across all forms of competition which is way better than Dybala’s just 5 from as many as 30 appearances in the same period. During his four years in Turin, the Croatian has won the Serie A four times, the Coppa Italia three times and the Italian Super Cup once. It is being learnt now that Old Trafford are in an attempt to rope in both the Juventus players together which will suit Solskjaer’s purpose well and a big boost for the Red Devils attack. What’s more appealing to the management at Old Trafford is that Mandzukic could cost them just £13 million.

United will reportedly go official early next week with the announcement of the Bruno Fernandes deal. If rumours are to be believed, the 24-year old Sporting CP midfielder will leave for England immediately after the Portugal Super Cup of August 4, Sunday.

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