Aston Villa will actually be paying 100% of Philippe Coutinho’s wages during his six-month loan after Barcelona head coach Xavi confirmed he’d agreed to cut his salary.

Villa have finalised a deal to keep Coutinho for the remainder of the season, with a £33m option to buy, and were initially believed to be paying anywhere from 50% to 85% of his wages, with Barcelona paying the rest.

However, Xavi confirmed in his press conference ahead of Barça’s game with Granada that Coutinho had agreed to lower his salary before heading back to England, with reports suggesting he’s taken a 35% cut, meaning Villa will be the only team paying him.

“It says a lot about him that he wanted to leave,” Xavi told the assembled media. “He has seen that it has cost him to have minutes at Barça, he wants to succeed and has sought a solution. He is a great professional, his salary has been lowered.”

Barcelona have been trying to convince every member of their squad to slash their wages in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and while most had agreed to do so, there are several players who have not.

Coutinho was initially one of them, but it appears that waiving a portion of his salary to join Villa was a measure he was prepared to take.

Getting Coutinho’s wages off the books is huge for Barcelona, but importantly, it is not yet thought to be enough to allow them to register new signing Ferran Torres.

Torres, who joined for a fee that could reach £55m from Manchester City late in December, is currently sidelined with Covid-19 and unable to play anyway, giving Barcelona a little while longer to clear out the space needed to register him.

Centre-back Samuel Umtiti is among the highest earners being pushed towards the exit door, while goalkeeper Neto is expected to leave for Flamengo in the coming weeks.

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