Aston Villa could have to give Barcelona reassurances over the summer transfer of Philippe Coutinho this week or his representatives will be given the green light to negotiate elsewhere, reports claim.
Coutinho is currently on loan at Villa, who have the option to take him on a permanent basis. Villa boss Steven Gerrard is keen to get the deal done but reports say Barca have their doubts. And they want Villa to reassure them that a deal will happen.
Barcelona and Villa agreed on a £33m fee to make the deal permanent when the loan move was agreed. It was always thought Villa would be more than happy to pay it. The Brazilian is top of Steven Gerrard’s wanted list after all.
Aston Villa could be having second thoughts
However the Mirror are reporting that Barca officials fear Villa will not be willing to pay it. They have even suggested that Villa may pull out of the deal altogether.
Coutinho has shown flashes of his brilliance since arriving at Villa Park. But the report claims Villa have been a bit disappointed with his consistency. It has been suggested they could look to spend the £33m elsewhere.
The former Liverpool star has scored four goals in 12 appearances for Villa. He has also chipped in with three assists. His last goal came in the 3-0 win over Leeds, the last time Villa picked up a point.
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Villa have since gone on a poor run losing four games on the bounce. He has also been substituted in the last two defeats against Wolves and Tottenham. That could be fueling Barcelona’s anxiety and they want answers.
The Mirror say that Barca will speak with Coutinho’s agents this week. And if there is any doubt over a potential move to Villa they will weigh up their options.
That could include touting Coutinho around the globe to get him fixed up elsewhere. Barca boss Xavi has made it clear that Coutinho does not figure in his plans.
Coutinho has options
Coutinho would not be short of options. Newcastle have been linked and would jump at the chance to keep him in England. Clubs in Brazil are keen and Coutinho knows it is a big year with the World Cup coming up.
He needs to be playing and would like to stay at Villa. No doubt Steven Gerrard will be keen to keep him. Now it is down to the owners to stump up the cash. Gerrard has no concerns on that front either.
Speaking earlier this month he said: “Now is not the time to talk about figures and amounts. What the owners have done for this club has been phenomenal in terms of the backing.”