During the January transfer window, the Midlanders signed the 29-year-old from Barcelona on a half-season loan. They have the option to purchase the Brazilian for a fee of £33m, according to The Athletic’s Gregg Evans.
However, the player’s wages could present an issue, with Coutinho thought to be earning a whopping £480,000 per week under his Barcelona contract. That’s exactly four times the amount that Villa’s highest-paid player Danny Ings is thought to be taking home each week.
The 29-year-old will therefore have to agree to a considerable pay cut if he wishes to join the Midlands club in the long-term.
Romano took to Twitter on Monday morning to share a quote from Villa manager Steven Gerrard, who upon being asked about the Brazilian’s future at the club, said: “We want Philippe Coutinho here for sure”.
The journalist added that Coutinho’s ‘transfer will be discussed at the end of the season with Barcelona and his agent’.
The case against signing Coutinho permanently has actually grown stronger in recent weeks. He made a strong start following his move to Villa, notching seven goal contributions in his first eight matches.
However, he hasn’t scored or set up a goal in his seven appearances since, and against Burnley at the weekend, he failed to make the starting line-up for the first time since his impactful Villa debut as a substitute against Manchester United in January.
It remains to be seen whether Gerrard made that decision with one eye on Tuesday’s clash against Liverpool, but Coutinho’s future isn’t looking as clear-cut as it might have midway through March.
Even a 50% pay cut would put the Brazilian very much out on his own and distort the wage structure, so Villa have to think carefully before they commit to signing him outright.
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