West Ham have been warned about the potential cost of signing Philippe Coutinho from under Aston Villa’s nose.
Despite failing to have much of an impact in his past three games, Coutinho has shown he’s still got it since returning to the Premier League. He grabbed two goals and two assists in his first three appearances for Villa.
The 29-year-old’s immediate impression prompted reports of interest in him from both the Hammers and Arsenal.
They were said to be looking at hijacking a move should Villa opt to sign him permanently.
The Midlands club reportedly have the option to do that for £33m, though it’s been claimed they could even negotiate a lower fee.
However, a battle for Coutinho’s signature could see the price required to get a deal done rise.
Cash-strapped Barcelona would no doubt sell to the highest bidders. There is just one year left on his deal with the Spanish club come the summer.
Therefore, transfer insider Dean Jones believes West Ham should be cautious about getting embroiled in a fight with their rivals.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, he said: “I don’t know where I see Coutinho right now.
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“I think West Ham will be mindful of what they’re signing in Coutinho, if they were to go down that path. Because it would take a lot of money.”
There is also the added factor that Coutinho will be turning 30 years old in June, meaning his resale value will be much lower than any investment.
In contrast, fellow attacking target Jesse Lingard, who is also 29, will be available on a free so much more cost-effective.
West Ham target Coutinho has no Liverpool regrets
Whichever club he ends up at, Coutinho will be ending his four-year association with Barca.
Despite the £121.5m move not working out for him, he has insisted he has no regrets about leaving Liverpool.
He told ESPN: “No. At certain times we have to make decisions, and one of my big dreams was to play for Barcelona.
“At that moment I decided to make that decision, but always with great affection, respect and gratitude for Liverpool. And for the friendships over the years I’ve been in the club.
“And at that moment I had a decision to make and I don’t regret it.”