Philippe Coutinho is set to leave Barcelona permanently this summer with several Premier League clubs reportedly monitoring his situation in the final weeks of the campaign.
Currently on loan at Aston Villa, Coutinho has impressed on his return to the English top-flight having made seven goal contributions in 12 appearances so far. He joined Villa on loan in January to link up with close friend and former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard in a bid to rediscover his confidence and form after struggling to justify his £142million price tag at Barcelona.
Villa have an option to buy Coutinho permanently for £33million this summer and it’s a deal which Gerrard would like the club to get over the line. Last month, he said of the situation: “It’s more complicated than people think… the option is there. If it was my money, I think you know the answer.”
And recent reports claim that Villa are in no rush to take up that option, even if the league season ends in just over one month. The Mirror claim that Barcelona are concerned that Villa will not stump up the £33million fee that was written into his loan agreement.
The report adds that the Catalan giants would like to know “sooner rather than later” what Villa would be willing to pay for the Brazilian. And in the event that Villa fail to give a reasonable response, Coutinho’s agents will be given the green light to offer him up elsewhere.
Premier League sides Arsenal and Newcastle are both said to be monitoring the situation closely. And the Mirror claim the Saudi-backed club are “ready” to take on the financial burden that is the Brazilian’s £425,000 weekly wage.
According to reports, Villa will therefore have to make a swift decision on Coutinho’s future while other teams assess the situation. They remain the frontrunners to sign the Barcelona man permanently this summer, but it will not be a straightforward deal to complete.