Barcelona have made it clear they have no plans for Phillipe Coutinho in their squad, even with the change in managers. Coutinho has reiterated his desire to stay in England as he is comfortable in Birmingham. Steven Gerard also wants the little Brazilian to be a part of his squad moving forward, so a deal between both clubs is the best way to resolve the dilemma.
Both clubs had initially agreed on an optional £34M fee should Villa want to make the deal permanent when they signed him on loan in January. However, according to Goal, Villa have had a change of heart and would rather pay around half of the initially agreed fee.
The Villans are looking to strike a deal around £17m. Barca are desperate to get the former Liverpool man off their wage bill but will not settle for such a low fee. They would be open to parting ways with him for a fee closer to £26m, so it would not be a straightforward deal.
Spanish sources have told Sportsmail that an agreement between Villa and Barcelona is now close, with the expectancy being that the deal will get done. Coutinho has been stellar in the Premier League for Steven Gerrard’s team. He has made 16 appearances, scoring four goals and setting up a further three.
His impressive form has seen him being linked with both Arsenal and Newcastle, but Gerrard insists he wants the 29-year-old to remain on the club’s roster beyond this summer.
“We want Philippe Coutinho here for sure, ” said Gerrard, who played with him at Liverpool. 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.”
Coutinho moved to the Nou Camp from Liverpool for a minimum fee of £105m, the third-most-expensive transfer in football history. It turned out to be an underwhelming move as the Brazilian failed to live up to his price tag. He was initially shipped out to Bayern, where he won the Champions League before moving to Villa Park in another loan move. He featured and scored twice against his parent club in Bayern’s riotous run to their Champions League triumph.
Aston Villa are looking to strengthen their squad for next season in a bid to try and secure European football. Steven Gerard will receive backing from Villa’s billionaire owners to make significant moves in the summer transfer market.
Villa remains in talks to add another holding player registering interest in Leeds star Kalvin Phillips and Yves Bissouma of Brighton, who rejected a bid in January. They are also in the market for a new center-back and another striker.