Aston Villa face an imminent decision over the future of Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho.
The £33m price to make Coutinho’s move permanent is another sticking point, with it recently claimed that Villa are looking for Barcelona to halve that figure. Arsenal and mega-rich Newcastle United have also been linked with moves for Coutinho.
Four goals and three assists from 13 games is a good return, but Coutinho hasn’t been able to drag Villa towards the European places since arriving in Birmingham in January. In fact, Villa have struggled since his arrival, winning just four of their 13 matches to slide down the Premier League table.
Spanish news outlet Fichajes reports that Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez – who only quit the Premier League to move to Qatar last year – could be a ‘cheaper’ alternative to Coutinho. Former Real Madrid and Everton man Rodriguez, 30, apparently wants to leave Qatari side Al-Rayyan and Villa is listed as one of three possible destinations.
Rodriguez, a client of Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes, has been linked with Villa’s Premier League rivals West Ham, as well as La Liga club Atletico Madrid. According to Fichajes, Rodriguez’s ‘price would be extremely low and it could be agreed that the salary requirements be lowered.’