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Aston Villa: Philippe Coutinho backed to leave in January

Aston Villa: Philippe Coutinho backed to leave in January - Aston Villa News

Aston Villa forward Philippe Coutinho could be one of the players to leave in the January transfer window, according to former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

The Lowdown: Coutinho struggling at Villa

The Brazilian’s career has taken a nosedive since his best days at Liverpool, with a big-money move to Barcelona going badly and other stints elsewhere also not going to plan.

Coutinho joined Villa last January but has struggled to make an impact after a bright start, only starting six matches in the Premier League this season and yet to register a goal contribution in 15 top-flight appearances in the current campaign.

It could be that the 30-year-old moves on this month, although it feels as if his future is still up in the air.

The Latest: Coutinho could be sold this month

Speaking to Football Insider, Robinson hinted that Coutinho could be sold in January, but suggested that Unai Emery will be the man to decide on the Brazilian’s future.

The Sky Sports pundit said:

“It will be up to Unai Emery. Villa’s owners back the manager and I’m sure they will do the same with Emery. His decision will likely be final.

“Emery has to be allowed to do what he wants to do with the squad. If he wants to get rid of Coutinho, so be it. Coutinho will be on big wages and if he leaves it might free up room for a couple of signings.

“Alternatively, Emery might want to build the team around him. Whatever happens, Emery needs freedom.

“It will not take one or two windows. It will take time. A manager does not get a job when the team is doing well and the squad is in great shape. There will have to be changes at Villa and Coutinho might be one of them.”

The Verdict: Could be for the best

It does feel as though a move away this month could be best for all parties, getting Coutinho’s £125,000-per-week salary off Villa’s wage bill and allowing him to enjoy a new challenge elsewhere.

His talent is there for all to see – Steven Gerrard has described him as an ‘incredible‘ player – but he appears to be lacking in confidence, judging by his inability to contribute a goal or assist this term.

It is hard to see Coutinho’s fortunes at Villa suddenly changing for the better, especially given his age, and this could go down in the long run as a transfer gamble which ultimately didn’t pay off.

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