• Arsenal is given until January 5 to complete a deal for Philippe Coutinho
  • Newcastle and Leicester City are ready to step up if an Arsenal deal falls apart
  • Coutinho prefers to return to Brazil if the plan to move to Arsenal fails to materialize

Philippe Coutinho is expected to be shipped away to another club at some point--the earliest of which is this month.

Things have not gone well for the Brazilian in his stint at Camp Nou, and Arsenal has been singled out as a preferred next stop.

Furthermore, the 29-year-old winger has aired his preference to move to the Emirates Stadium, Sport reported.

But as of this writing, a deal between the Gunners and Blaugranas has yet to gain significant mileage.

However, that could all change soon with the Sunday People reporting that Arsenal will have until Wednesday, January 5 to decide on whether they intend to pursue Coutinho or not.

The report also added that despite the preference of Coutinho to move to the Emirates Stadium, Newcastle United and Leicester City are lurking and could make a move for the Brazilian if no deal materializes.

Thus, it remains to be seen how Mikel Arteta will treat this development.

The Gunners are open to taking in the struggling midfielder but prefer to initially sign him on loan with an option to buy him for an initial £5 million ($6.75 million) in the summer.

Moreover, the Gunners are allegedly ready to take on the Brazilian’s £200,000 ($270,000)-a-week wage.

However, Barca is reportedly looking for a £7.5 million ($10.13 million) fee this month for Coutinho.

Hence, a potential move for the midfielder may depend on how both the Gunners and the Catalan giants discuss a potential deal before Wednesday.

The Magpies and Foxes will also be keeping tabs although Coutinho allegedly has a preference to return to Brazil if the Gunners fold.

For the Gunners, taking in a struggling Coutinho is seen as a big risk.

The Brazilian footballer has hardly been a bright spot for Xavi Hernandez, and there is no telling if he can turn it up under the watch of Arteta.

The same holds for Newcastle and Leicester City.

Regardless, it all boils down to how Arsenal and Barcelona sort things out to possibly determine where Coutinho will be playing next.

Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona
Philippe Coutinho moved from Barcelona to Aston Villa on loan this winter market. Getty Images | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce