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Arsenal transfer news: Barcelona will not let Philippe Coutinho leave this summer

Philippe Coutinho
(Image credit: PA)

Barcelona have decided to keep hold of Philippe Coutinho for the 2021/22 campaign, according to reports.

The La Liga side are in financial disarray with the club's total debts in excess of £1.15bn.

They have already been forced to let their greatest ever player, Lionel Messi, leave on a free transfer due to the impossibility of retaining the Argentine while also abiding by La Liga's salary cap.

Gerard Pique has reduced his wages in order to help Barcelona register new signings Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, as well as former Barcelona B striker Rey Manaj.

Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto, the club's three other captains, are expected to follow Pique's lead in the coming weeks.

The Blaugrana have spent much of the summer attempting to offload some of the fringe members of Ronald Koeman's squad.

Coutinho is one of the players for whom Barcelona were ready to listen to offers.

It was reported earlier this week that the Catalans were weighing up a proposal for a swap deal that would see the Brazilian head to Arsenal in exchange for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

But it now appears that such a deal is off the table, with Marca reporting that Barcelona have decided to retain Coutinho after all.

The absence of any good offers for the former Liverpool attacking midfielder has persuaded Ronald Koeman to incorporate Coutinho into his squad for the season ahead.

This could be the Brazilian's last chance to impress, though, having hitherto failed to live up to expectations at the Camp Nou.

Coutinho did not participate in Barcelona's pre-season games due to a lack of fitness, which harmed the club's attempts to get him off the books.

Their decision to keep Coutinho would also appear to rule out a move for Aubameyang.

Barcelona are not in a position to pay transfer fees right now, and their recruitment strategy this summer has focused on free agents and potential swap deals.

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