24 hours is a long time in football, with what started as a whisper surrounding Villa’s interest in Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, now developing into a more reputable link.
There’s no doubt that this remains a speculative deal at this moment, but it’s a potential move that carries excitement and risk in equal measure.
As we wrote yesterday, there is little to doubt Coutinho’s talents, but the 29 year old has struggled to reach anything like the heights expected after his £142m move to Catalonia in 2018. With that said, the Brazilian might of course cite the deterioration of Barca’s financial situation during his time at the club as playing as much part as his own patchy fitness and form.Embed from Getty Images
It shouldn’t also go un-noticed that whilst the former Liverpool midfielder was shipped out on loan in 2020, he returned to his parent club as a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.
For Villa, there will be many hurdles to leap. Barca will undoubtedly expect a sizeable loan fee (reportedly around £10m). There is also the issue of subsidising exhorbitant wages, that presently sit in the region of £380k per week. It’s therefore no surpise that at this point the club has made only a tentative approach to the La Liga giants.
There is also the nagging sense of being beguiled by the mere thought of acquiring a high profile name.
Whilst we cannot claim to have had many names of this calibre on the books in recent years, many supporters can list countless purchases that Villa have paid the price for overpaying in both fee and salaries. Indeed, it’s also fresh in many fans memories that it wasn’t so long ago that financial mismanagement led Villa to the brink of being wound up.
The interesting part at this juncture is the fact that Villa are in the mix and at least keeping a watching brief. There will be undoubtedly interest from top European and Premier League clubs, which can only make getting a deal across the line more challenging. What perhaps makes things more intriguing this time, is that we have ambitious owners, capable of putting their money where there mouths are. We shall watch and wait.