Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Dimitar Berbatov has claimed that Philippe Coutinho would be a better signing for Arsenal than he would be for the Lilywhites.
Coutinho is one of a number of players Barcelona are said to be keen to move on this summer as they look to reduce their wage bill and raise funds for their future transfer targets (Marca).
It was previously reported that the Brazilian was one of Tottenham’s main transfer targets this summer (Football Insider) but there have also been suggestions that Jose Mourinho is not a fan of the former Liverpool midfielder (Mundo Deportivo).
Arsenal are said to have enquired about signing the 28-year-old on a season-long loan, with the Catalan giants reportedly demanding a €20m (£18.2m) loan fee and an additional €10m (£9.1m) needed to cover the midfielder’s wages (Sport).
Berbatov has advised Coutinho to snub Spurs’ approach in favour of a move to their North London rivals.
He told Betfair: “I have heard the rumours about Philippe Coutinho, and I thought he might be a better player for Arsenal, as Spurs play very direct.
“The last thing you want as a midfielder is to see the ball go straight from defence to attack and back, so all you get is neck pain! You’re never part of the game that way.”
The Bulgarian also said that he expected Jose Mourinho to prioritise rebuilding the Tottenham defence this summer.
Berbatov added: “They (Tottenham) definitely need a defender to replace Jan Vertonghen. The midfield is up in the air, who is staying and who is going?
“Mourinho will always want a strong defence, and I imagine he will have a few names already.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I actually agree with Berbatov’s assessment of Coutinho not being a good fit for our style of play. I was keen for us to sign the Brazilian last summer as I believed Pochettino would be able to get him playing at his best once again.
However, with the counter-attacking style we are currently favouring, we need a number ten who is good at winning the ball back and is decisive in attacking transitions. Jose has shown through most of his career that he favours number tens who are decent athletes and can be trusted to carry out complex tactical instructions, like former Chelsea star, Oscar.
While players like Ozil and Fabregas have also thrived under the Portuguese coach in the past, he has generally shown a tendency to go for efficiency over flair, even in attacking positions.
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