In what is certainly one of the more ambitious transfer links of the window, is that of Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho leaving the Camp Nou.
Coutinho who has struggled for consistent form and match fitness since a massive £142m move from Liverpool in 2018, and now 29, is now seeking to move on.
Whilst the Brazilian hasn’t nearly hit the heights of the impressive performances at Anfield, his availability will certainly have alerted a number of clubs across Europe.
Closer to home, links to the Premier League extend far and wide, with speculation that Coutinho interests everyone from Spurs, Leicester and more feasibly perhaps, Arsenal (with Villa priced as second favourites behind the London club by bookmakers). There is also a hilarious mention of Newcastle.Embed from Getty Images
Jokes aside, there is incredibly little in the way of concrete links or verifiable sources to Villa Park either. This rumour is likely driven by Coutinho now being touted widely by his agent for a move, the random mention by former Villa player Tony Cascarino and a Liverpool connection through current manager Steven Gerrard.Embed from Getty Images
There are other major stumbling blocks for any deal for a player who had already been out on loan to Bayern Munich. Although the financial disaster at Barcelona arguably plays into any interested clubs hands with the Catalan side grappling with dire money woes, they also need to recoup something from the deal Whilst this may drive any prospective fee downwards, perhaps as low as sub £10m, the real issue comes down to player wages.
Coutinho currently earns a wage in the region of £380,000 per week; an eye watering figure for a footballer who’s struggled to reproduce anything like the form that secured his transfer to Barca. Villa, and any other club for that matter, would need to either substantially subsidise this salary until the summer whilst on loan, or bite the bullet if looking to secure a permanent deal.
Whilst Gerrard has alluded to big signings to “excite” Villa supporters ahead of the transfer window, this is a link to file away under the catagory of ‘unlikely’. However, it will be interesting to see where Coutinho ends up and at what price.
We will update this page as we get more information.
Featured Image Credit