Aston Villa could reportedly face a decision this week as Galatasaray are said to be interested in Philippe Coutinho.
It’s been a difficult season for the 30-year-old so far, as he has failed to register a single goal or assist in 20 appearances.
While it had been hoped that he could flourish with a fresh start under Unai Emery, we’ve yet to see him make a decisive impact, albeit he showed some positive signs this weekend against Leicester City after coming off the bench.
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However, according to The Sun, Galatasaray are keen to take the Brazilian playmaker to Turkey this week ahead of their transfer deadline on Wednesday, albeit they are interested in a loan deal rather than a permanent transfer, with Villa said to be keen on recouping as much of our £17m outlay as possible if we did approve of an exit.
On one hand, given his struggles this season coupled with the fact that he’s one of the top earners at the club and we’re not seeing enough of a return, moving Coutinho on if we have the option could be a smart, long-term business decision.
It would potentially lead to a permanent exit in the summer where we could get back some of that initial spend, while it would create space in the squad for Emery to bring in his own preferred option and it takes a big chunk off the salary bill.
That said, Villa are already light in terms of depth and quality competition for places, and so giving the green light to a Coutinho exit now and having to wait until the summer to find a replacement, could be something that Emery isn’t keen on.
Unless he rediscovers his form and produces consistently, the expectation is that Coutinho’s role will remain the same as an impact option off the bench, behind the likes of Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey, but it’s worth noting that he did take to social media last month to dismiss the idea of an exit from Villa amid speculation of interest from Brazil at that time.
While it just hasn’t gone right for him so far this year, we may still need him between now and the end of the season given the lack of alternative options who have experience and quality, and so time will tell if firstly Galatasaray lodge an official offer to back up talk of their interest, and whether or not Villa are open to accepting a departure now.