Philippe Coutinho has endured a difficult spell at Barcelona following his big-money move from Liverpool in January 2018 but his time at the Camp Nou could be about to come to a premature end.
The Brazilian is contracted to Barcelona until 2023 but the Catalans have agreed a permanent transfer with Aston Villa, as reported by Mundo Deportivo. Barcelona “are about to sell” Coutinho for a fee of around €20 million.
Coutinho is currently on loan with the Premier League side and his deal includes a purchase option set at €40m. However, Barca are keen to offload Coutinho and would also like to get the Brazilian’s salary off the wage bill.
The Brazil international has enjoyed life back in the Premier League with Villa. Coutinho has four goals and three assists in 15 Premier League outings for Steven Gerrard’s side.
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Gerrard Makes Feelings About Coutinho Clear
The Villa boss has already made his feelings about Coutinho clear after leaving the Brazilian out of his starting XI for his team’s win over Burnley. The Villa boss spoke about the attacker after the game to explain his decision and insist he wants to keep him at the club, as reported by MailOnline.
“We want Philippe Coutinho here for sure,” he said. “We have five games in 15 days so Phil and Emi will both get enough game time to keep themselves satisfied. As a club, we want to be in a place where games come thick and fast. Phil understood the decision, he has played a lot. There are no egos here.”
Gerrard knows Coutinho well from the duo’s time together at Liverpool. Coutinho shone for the Reds during his five years at Anfield before leaving for the Camp Nou.
Xavi Talks Barcelona Exits
Coutinho’s exit will be no surprise given he has found it difficult to impress at Barca. The Brazilian struggled to replicate the form he showed at Liverpool during his time in Spain and has twice been sent out on loan.
Xavi was asked about possible player exits at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, May 9 ahead of his team’s La Liga clash with Celta and said he already knows which players are surplus to requirements.
“We have quite a clear idea. It’s difficult to change my opinion at this point in the season, I’m pretty clear in my ideas,” he said. “We will see what we can do. The economic situation conditions my decision making a lot but we’ll see.”
Coutinho could be one of nine players discarded by Barca this summer, as reported by Marca. Back-up goalkeeper Neto, defenders Sergino Dest, Samuel Umtiti, Clement Lenglet and Oscar Mingueza are also available for transfer.
Barca are also willing to listen to offers for Frenkie de Jong, Riqui Puig, Martin Braithwaite, and Memphis Depay in what promises to be another busy transfer window as the club look to overhaul the squad both for footballing and financial reasons.