Barcelona are set to listen to offers to sell Arsenal target Philippe Coutinho for less than the agreed purchase option included in the Brazilian’s loan move to Aston Villa.
That’s according to Mundo Deportivo, who claim it’s ‘logical’ for the Camp Nou side to accept cuts to secure his departure. Barcelona are trying to strengthen Xavi Hernandez’s squad this summer but will also have to manage the group of players on loan.
Coutinho had a spirited start to his temporary return to the Premier League four years after joining Barcelona for £105million. But the Blaugrana no longer expect to receive the £33million option agreed by Steven Gerrard’s side in their half-season deal during the recent winter window.
Instead, the Catalan giants will negotiate the fee required to sell the 29-year-old this summer. As well as his dip in form in recent weeks, Coutinho enters the final 12 months of his £425,000-a-week contract in June. Further weakening the Blaugrana’s position.
His salary would also be a major hurdle in securing a permanent offseason move. But Mundo Deportivo recently reported that Coutinho is likely to take a pay cut to leave Barcelona – as he is to secure loan transfers with Aston Villa and Bayern Munich.
The Spanish outlet also noted that Arsenal are considering competing with Aston Villa for Coutinho’s permanent transfer from Barcelona this summer. But 90min claim the Villans are already talking with the Camp Nou hierarchy and are also optimistic they will win any fight.
Barcelona to hear offers for Arsenal to target Coutinho below £33m for Aston Villa option
Still, Barcelona cutting their asking price could see other teams join Arsenal in vying with Aston Villa for Coutinho’s permanent transfer. He has provided four goals and three assists in 12 Premier League games so far under Gerrard, who started him in 11 games.
His run includes goals against Manchester United, Southampton and in two games for Leeds. The 68-cap Brazilian ace also assisted twice in his first clash with Leeds, while stunning Alan Shearer with his dynamic display to help beat the Saints 4-0 on March 5.
“The Brazilian continues to thrive under Steven Gerrard, getting another goal and an assist,” Shearer wrote in his Premier League column. “Simply unplayable.”
But Coutinho has failed to score or create in Aston Villa’s last four games from the net at Elland Road. The Villans have also lost every encounter, including a 1-0 home loss to Arsenal. He also struggled to offer much to Gerrard’s side against the Gunners.
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