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Aston Villa: Paul Merson casts doubt on Philippe Coutinho move

Aston Villa: Paul Merson casts doubt on Philippe Coutinho move -Aston Villa News

Paul Merson thinks Aston Villa’s Emiliano Buendia could stand in the way of a permanent Philippe Coutinho move. 

The lowdown

In January, Coutinho joined Villa on loan from FC Barcelona until the end of the season.

According to The Athletic’s Gregg Evans, they will have the option to buy the Brazilian for a fee of £33million come the summer.

That’s almost the same amount they paid to sign Buendia from Norwich City back in July 2021 (£34.56million).

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The latest

Writing his predictions column for Sportskeeda, Merson said that Villa may opt against triggering their option because they already have a no. 10 in the form of Buendia.

And, from what he’s seen so far, he doesn’t think the pair can thrive when deployed together.

“It’s probably a little early to speak about this, but it’ll be interesting to see if Villa exercise the option to sign Philippe Coutinho permanently,” the 53-year-old Sky Sports man wrote.

“I’m not sure if they will and I’m only saying that because they already have Emiliano Buendia, who is also a #10.

“I personally don’t think they can play together, but we’ll have to wait and see how the situation develops between now and the end of the season.”

The verdict

Are Merson’s concerns justified? Well, Steven Gerrard has selected both on four occasions, and the results haven’t been particularly encouraging.

Villa won the first of the games away at Everton, but then picked just one point from three matches against relegation contenders in Leeds United, Newcastle United and Watford.

Buendia was subsequently dropped to the bench for last weekend’s trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, and the Midlands outfit returned to winning ways.

Evans says the Argentine will be ‘pushing for a recall’ ahead of the clash with Southampton on Saturday, but expects Gerrard to favour the Coutinho-Danny Ings-Ollie Watkins attack once again.

He may have the manager’s backing at this stage, then, but to convince the club he’s worthy of the investment, Coutinho has to start producing big moments away from Villa Park. Indeed, all four of his goals/assists have come on home soil up to this point.

In other news, Gregg Evans reacts to an injury blow.

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Article title: Aston Villa: Paul Merson casts doubt on Philippe Coutinho move

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