Philippe Coutinho to Qatar exit touted
Aston Villa playmaker Philippe Coutinho is reportedly making progress in talks with a side in Qatar as he continues to be paired with an exit.
The 31-year-old missed much of last season due to injury having been limited to 22 appearances across all competitions, while he struggled for form too, as he contributed just one goal and no assists in those outings.
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Having gradually worked his way back to full fitness to put himself back in contention over pre-season though, the Brazilian international then suffered another setback in our win over Everton last weekend, with Unai Emery confirming after the game that it was a muscular injury that would sideline him for a few weeks.
Despite that setback, it appears as though it hasn’t slowed down interest building in prising him away from Villa, with Fabrizio Romano reporting that a Qatari side are pushing to sign Coutinho, and progress is being made in negotiations over personal terms.
However, it’s added that there is no agreement with Villa as of yet, and so it will be interesting to see what level of transfer fee we’re demanding to give an exit the green light for Coutinho in the final week of the transfer window.
According to journalist Jorge Nicola, Al Duhail are the club in question, and he suggests that negotiations are much further advanced and that the transfer fee is expected to be less than €20m.
Given his injury issues, high wages and limited influence on the team, it seems like a sensible idea to move Coutinho on now if the interest is there, especially if it’s a big-money offer from Qatar that we can use to balance our books and reinvest back into the squad to strengthen it with players Emery wants.
That said, there was always an ongoing hope that he would find his way again and rediscover the form he showed when he first joined us on loan from Barcelona, as he made such a telling impact in those first few weeks and months and certainly impressed.
In a season in which Villa hope to play close to 60 games across all competitions though as we compete on multiple fronts, Coutinho’s unreliability and inconsistency is something we arguably can’t afford to contend with, and so selling and replacing him would arguably be the smart choice now.
It remains to be seen if Emery and the Villa hierarchy agree, but ultimately regardless of the stage at which talks over personal terms are at, until Villa agree on a fee and approve of an exit, it’s still unclear if Coutinho will be moving on.