Aston Villa transfer plan under threat with top performer ‘open’ to surprise Newcastle switch

Philippe Coutinho, Aston Villa

Aston Villa loanee Philippe Coutinho is reportedly open to the idea of joining Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United next season.

Coutinho was involved in the biggest shock signing from the January window when reuniting with Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa. Since then, Coutinho has showcased his talents with seven goal contributions from 13 appearances, becoming a star player at Villa Park.

It is believed Coutinho will remain in the Premier League, though his exact destination is not yet determined.

According to Spanish outlet Sport, Coutinho is likely to continue his career in England.

While his current deal with Aston Villa expires at the end of the campaign, Barcelona are expected to accept a permanent offer for the Brazilian in summer.

Howe reportedly attempted to sign Coutinho at the same time as Gerrard in January. However, it was reported the 29-year-old was not interested in a move to Newcastle at the time and opted for Aston Villa instead.

But with the next deal being on a permanent basis, this could seemingly change Coutinho’s decision.

The report states Newcastle are willing to spend £33m in order to bring the playmaker to St. James’ Park.

Newcastle are also believed to be willing to match his wages paid at Barcelona – something Aston Villa would not be able to do.

And despite being in the midst of a relegation scrap in January, fortunes have now changed for Newcastle. Howe’s side currently sit above Villa in the table – potentially something for Coutinho to consider long-term.

Paul Merson gives verdict on Philippe Coutinho Villa future

Despite Villa not offering the same finances as Newcastle, it’s likely the Brazilian would become the highest-paid player at the club.

Nevertheless, Coutinho will still need to take a pay cut if he is to have a future at Villa Park.

Ex-midfielder Paul Merson claims that a wage cut must be accepted. If not, then a permanent move to Villa is out the question.

Speaking to 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.”

READ MORE: Newcastle plot ambitious swoop for PSG star set to move on; two more clubs in pursuit