Philippe Coutinho would rather lower his salary to sign for Aston Villa permanently than accept higher terms from Newcastle United, according to a report.
Barcelona-owned playmaker Coutinho is currently spending the rest of the season on loan at Villa Park. The move has reunited him with former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard. In turn, the Brazilian has been performing closer to the levels he showed on Merseyside rather than in Catalonia.
So far, Coutinho has four goals from 10 Aston Villa appearances, plus three assists. It has led to the idea of his transfer there becoming permanent.
But, as reported in Friday’s Paper Talk, they are not the only suitors for his signature. Arsenal are long-term admirers as well, while Newcastle United have now joined the race.
Newcastle have money to spend after their Saudi-backed takeover last year. Coutinho’s salary could prove to be the main stumbling block for Villa’s hopes of keeping him, but their fellow Premier League side wouldn’t have similar problems.
What’s more, the Magpies may be able to give him a decent signing-on bonus as a further incentive.
However, an update from Mundo Deportivo has confirmed that Coutinho’s preference is still to stick with Aston Villa.
He finds their project more appealing at this moment in time and is enjoying his work under Gerrard. Newcastle, in comparison, do not “attract his attention”, it is claimed.
Said to be “comfortable” at Villa, he is willing to reduce the salary that he takes from Barcelona to facilitate the move.
Barcelona ready to offload Coutinho
That will also be a relief for his parent club, who have been trying to offload those wages given he never produced to the level expected for them.
Villa have the option to buy Coutinho for a fee of around £34m. They would then have to arrange personal terms with him, but it seems he is on side with them.
Turning 30 in the summer, he still has plenty to offer if he can maintain the kind of impact he has been having in the claret-and-blue shirt so far.
The report makes it clear that he has not discarded the idea of joining Arsenal yet. That move would be more likely to give him European football – potentially of Champions League level – next season.
But continuity will be important for the former Bayern Munich loanee. Therefore, he should give serious thought to remaining with Villa as a priority option.