Newcastle United are poised to hijack Aston Villa’s pursuit of their on-loan Barcelona midfielder, Phillipe Coutinho, according to Spanish media outlet, Sport.
While Aston Villa are currently in the driving seat to sign the Brazil international, as per their initial agreement of a €40million option to buy. However, should Villa decide to attempt to negotiate this fee with Barcelona, then Newcastle will be primed to swoop in and better Villa’s offer.
Reports emerged last week detailing Aston Villa’s desires to whittle down the initial transfer fee agree for Coutinho by as much as 50%, with the view to pay €20million to secure the deal. While this could in some ways be enough for Barcelona to part with the player, in part due to the player’s sizable wage bill, it will also open the door for other teams to emerge and better Aston Villa’s offer for the player.
As well as Newcastle, a number of the Premier League’s usual big-name suspects have expressed interest in Coutinho, having been reminded of his qualities during loan spells with Bayern Munich and now Aston Villa, and at just 29, has a lot left in his tank at the top level.
Should the decision come down to the player himself, it would be difficult to see a scenario whereby Aston Villa can offer the player more than Newcastle, who will once again have a transfer and wage budget that has the potential to dwarf that of the league’s elite. Wherever Coutinho may end up, there certainly feels an inevitability that it will be in England, and whether you’re a fan of Newcastle, Villa, or wherever he may end up, Coutinho is a spectacle for all neutrals when playing at his best.