Aston Villa are mulling an alternative option to buying Philippe Coutinho outright this summer after a report revealed why a conventional deal is ‘almost impossible’.
Aided by Steven Gerrard’s prior Liverpool connections, Aston Villa secured an almighty coup when loaning the ex-Reds attacker from Barcelona in January. The Brazilian, 29, has hit the ground running upon his return to England.
Coutinho has already bagged three goals and three assists in seven Premier League outings. His creativity and invention – as well as end product – has given Villa’s forward line a new dimension.
Widespread reports have indicated Villa and Gerrard would love to turn the temporary stay permanent.
The club negotiated a £33.4m option to buy in the deal and given Coutinho’s start to life at Villa Park, that already looks value for money.
However, a report from the Telegraph has indicated why a summer swoop isn’t so straightforward.
High salary posing a problem
Firstly, the article acknowledges Villa are more than capable of paying the £33.4m fee. The issue stems from Coutinho’s gargantuan £480,000-a-week wages.
Villa agreed to pay approximately one quarter of that figure when completing the loan move. Barcelona are more than willing to part ways with Coutinho, but convincing him to take a massive pay-cut won’t be easy.
What’s more, it’s hinted Villa do not want to smash their wage structure. Jack Grealish was reportedly the club’s highest earner in his final season at the club when pocketing £130,000-per-week.
Gerrard not in control of Coutinho situation as permanent signing not guaranteed
Steven Gerrard is not in control of the Coutinho transfer as the Brazilian isn’t guaranteed to stay at Aston Villa after this season
But even if Coutinho were to accept his wages being halved, that would still amount to £240,000-a-week. Clearly, bitter pills will need to be swallowed on either the player or club’s end.
As such, the outlet claim the possibility of a second loan deal has been discussed with a conventional deal termed ‘almost impossible’. That would push back the final decision by 12 months up to the time when Coutinho will be a free agent.
However, taking that route would leave Villa vulnerable to a rival suitor willing to pay higher wages swooping in. Furthermore, given Barcelona’s financial predicament, it stands to reason they would prefer an outright sale as soon as possible.
The report concludes whether Coutinho joins Villa outright this summer rests with the player himself. And top of his agenda will be how much of a pay-cut he is willing – or not as the case may be – to take.
Coutinho deal a no-brainer – Micah Richards
Meanwhile, Aston Villa have been given a glowing review for a star considering his future with one pundit asking “what more could you want?”.
Former Villa defender Micah Richards believes not only should Villa choose Coutinho, but the Brazilian should choose the Midlands club.
When asked if he should stay at Villa Park, Richards told BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club: “Why not? It’s about football, it’s about love.
“Villa have got a load of investment. They have got a manager who he has played with who he knows inside out, he has got [Jacob] Ramsey – exciting.
“He has got John McGinn inside him in that midfield. [Ollie] Watkins and [Danny] Ings up front. [Matty] Cash an outstanding right back with [Lucas] Digne as well.
“What more could you ask for? You keep talking about ‘Would you sign him?’ Players want to play football and players want to be loved and he is getting that at Aston Villa. So why on God’s earth would he not want to make it permanent?”