Arsenal and West Ham United will reportedly go up against Aston Villa in the race to sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona in the summer.

According to a report by Spanish outlet Fichajes, Arsenal and West Ham United are interested in signing Philippe Coutinho in the summer transfer window. The two London giants are set to rival Aston Villa in the race to sign the Brazilian playmaker permanently from Barcelona.

Philippe Coutinho endured a horrific spell at Barcelona since joining them from Liverpool in January 2018. Apart from a strong second half of the 2017/18 season, the 29-year-old never made his mark at Camp Nou and is now currently in his second loan spell away from Barcelona, having joined Aston Villa in the January transfer window.

The Brazilian playmaker’s stint with Aston Villa has started with a bang, as he has two goals and two assists in four appearances thus far. Coutinho’s performances could prompt the Villans to enter the bid to sign him permanently. But they will likely face stiff competition from fellow Premier League clubs Arsenal and West Ham United for the Barcelona loanee.

Arsenal had shown an interest in Coutinho before he joined Aston Villa. And it looks like Mikel Arteta’s admiration of the Barcelona loanee has increased multifold following his early exploits for the Midlands club in the last few games.

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With Coutinho primarily playing as a wide-attacker, Arsenal could look to sign him as a potential replacement for Nicolas Pepe. The Ivory Coast international is now a bit-part player for Arsenal and could depart the Emirates in the summer, thereby necessitating the arrival of a wide-attacker. On the other hand, West Ham United might be in the market to replace Andriy Yarmolenko.

Like Pepe, Yarmolenko also faces an uncertain future at his club and might be on the move in the summer transfer window. And Coutinho could be an upgrade on the Ukrainian international at West Ham, where he will ideally compete with Said Benrahma, Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals in the attacking midfield unit.

Apart from Arsenal and West Ham, Aston Villa will likely be in the running to sign Coutinho in the summer, especially if the Brazilian playmaker’s exploits continue. With competition for his signature increasing, Barcelona will be licking their lips at the prospect of securing a decent sum from his sale in the summer.

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