Aston Villa have been given until the end of May by Barcelona to make a decision on Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.
Coutinho has been a star performer at Villa Park since his arrival on loan in January. Following his success, manager Steven Gerrard is said to be very keen to land the creative midfielder on a permanent deal before next season. However, the club may have to act fast if they wish to secure the Brazilian, with Barcelona offering an ultimatum.
Barca have valued their man at £40million, however Villa were hoping to agree a cheaper deal.
Alternatively, the Spanish giants will try to find another solution for Coutinho by the end of June. Barcelona are hoping to arrange a deal early, so they can bring in some new players themselves.
Gerrard has reportedly already decided that a permanent move is the way to go. However, the only issue remaining is whether the board think he is worth that price.
With other suitors also looking into Coutinho, Barcelona will be keen for a swift response from Villa. This means less bargaining time for the club, which could mean Villa choose to look elsewhere.
The 29-year-old has featured 14 times in the Premier League this season, with seven goal contributions during that spell.
Philippe Coutinho must accept lower wages, claims pundit
Having proved the talent is still there, a number of other clubs are said to be interested in Coutinho’s services.
Newcastle United and Arsenal have both been linked in the past, with a number of other clubs across Europe monitoring the situation.
Aston Villa still deciding on Coutinho deal
Aston Villa are yet to make a decision on whether to sign Coutinho from Barcelona for £33m this summer
However, after poor stints at both Bayern Munich and Barcelona, pundit Paul Merson believes his valuation has decreased.
The former midfielder went on to claim that if the Brazilian wants a permanent move, he must accept lower wages.
During an interview with Sportskeeda, the outspoken pundit said: “Philippe Coutinho has been impressive for Villa. But a permanent deal will depend on his wage demands.
“If he drops his wages, Villa will sign him. But otherwise, they’re out of the running.”