Arsenal Pull Out of Philippe Coutinho Deal & Pursue Lille's Gabriel Magalhães

Philippe Coutinho
Arsenal were pursuing both Philippe Coutinho & Willian | Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Arsenal have decided against pursuing a move for Barcelona forward Philippe Coutinho after talks with Chelsea's Willian moved into an advanced stage.

The Gunners have been pursuing both players and were recently tipped to complete both deals, having made significant progress in talks with the two Brazilians.

Willian
Willian is close to joining Arsenal | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

However, amid a financial crisis at the club which has seen them propose to make 55 non-playing staff redundant, a decision has been made to pull out of talks to sign Coutinho. John Cross notes that Arsenal are well aware that they cannot afford to sign both players, and given a loan move for Coutinho was expected to cost around £10m, the plug has been pulled on that one.

The Gunners had hoped to bring in both players to give manager Mikel Arteta some more attacking options, even stressing that the club's transfer plans would not be impacted by the monetary struggles at the Emirates Stadium, but the focus is now firmly on Willian, who has been offered a three-year contract and is understood to be very close to signing on the dotted line.

The Chelsea man is yet to make any formal decision about his future, but after rejecting yet another offer of a two-year deal to remain at Stamford Bridge, it seems like just a matter of time before this one gets over the line.

With a new attacker set to arrive on a free transfer, Arteta can now focus on bolstering other areas of the squad, and several reports suggest that finding a new centre-back is high on the agenda.

One man on the boss' radar is Lille's Gabriel Magalhães, who enjoyed a breakout year before the season was brought to an abrupt end and has attracted interest from the likes of Chelsea, Napoli and Manchester United.

United have held talks with Gabriel's representatives, but Fabrizio Romano notes that the Gunners have swooped in and entered negotiations with Lille to discuss a potential transfer.

Gabriel Dos Santos Magalhaes
Arsenal are also chasing Gabriel | Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

La Voix du Nord go one step further and claim that Gabriel has already decided that he wants to move to the Emirates this summer, having been hugely impressed by their sales pitch.

Lille are looking for a fee of around €30m (£27m), which may still be a little steep for Arsenal in the current climate, so talks are underway as Arsenal look to negotiate themselves a nice little discount.

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