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Unai Emery Dismisses Philippe Coutinho, Arsenal Rumours; Talks Dani Ceballos

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 04: Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona waves to supporters ahead of the match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal at Nou Camp on August 04, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images)
Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has dismissed speculation linking the club with a move for Philippe Coutinho.

Coutinho's future at the Camp Nou has been the subject of plenty of rumours of late, as the Brazilian has struggled for form since his move from Liverpool in January 2018. 

Arsenal are one of the clubs who have been linked with the player. When asked about the possible transfer, Emery said he was an admirer of the midfielder but denied any talks had been held with Barcelona regarding the switch.

"We've never talked about Coutinho," he told Cadena Ser (h/t Chris Burton of Goal). "He's a splendid player, but we haven't talked about Coutinho at any time."

Despite the consistent speculation regarding a possible departure for Coutinho, as yet there are no imminent signs he will be sold by Barcelona:

Samuel Marsden @samuelmarsden

Messi, Coutinho, Vidal and Junior all in training this morning before flying to Miami this afternoon for Napoli double header.

Sport Witness questioned the links between the Brazilian and the Premier League side:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

This Coutinho to Arsenal rumour, has anyone actually seen the original source? Not in Spanish papers, doesn't appear to be online.

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

After The Sun reported that Sport reported Arsenal interest in Coutinho, Sport now report that The Sun have reported Arsenal interest in Coutinho. Sport never reported it in the first place.

According to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Sam McEvoy of the MailOnline), Coutinho is not open to joining another club on loan and will only agree to a Barcelona exit if a permanent sale is agreed.

The Gunners have made a couple of exciting additions in the transfer market already. Arsenal broke their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille, while Dani Ceballos has joined on loan from Barcelona's La Liga rivals Real Madrid.

Emery was also asked about the kind of impact he expects Ceballos to have at the Emirates Stadium this season.

"Dani comes to contribute his qualities," said Emery. "What I like most is the desire he is putting in and the hunger with which he comes. We will try to help him take a step forward as soccer player."

Ceballos impressed when Arsenal took on Barcelona in Sunday's friendly encounter, but Spanish football writer Colin Millar thinks the young midfielder can expect some rough treatment in the Premier league this term:

Colin Millar @Millar_Colin

Barcelona players opting for the physical approach in dealing with Dani Ceballos. Arsenal fans should grow accustomed to that next season. Daring and confident in possession, takes game to opponents. Will be a contender for the most fouled player in the league.

With Ceballos, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all set to scrap for attacking-midfield spots at Arsenal next season, there doesn't appear to be too much of a necessity to bring in Coutinho on loan.

The Brazilian was exceptional at Liverpool in the Premier League. He provided creativity, flair and a major goal threat from distance for the Reds:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Since his @lfc debut in Feb 2013, @Phil_Coutinho heads the list of goals scored from outside the penalty area in PL https://t.co/I1UfBeQ99Y

Those positive traits have rarely been seen in Barcelona colours. Manager Ernesto Valverde has given the midfielder chances, but he's failed to make his mark on matches on a regular basis, that despite having Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez alongside him in attack.

Given his struggles at the Camp Nou, a move away from Barcelona would potentially help reignite Coutinho's career. However, at this stage it appears unlikely he'll be making a move to the Emirates Stadium.