The waters at Aston Villa have roiled following the reported demands of one player, who has stated their desire to be transfer-listed ahead of the January transfer window.
Villa have had a turbulent campaign thus far, starting poorly and seeing the dismissal of Steven Gerrard after only 11 months before the impressive appointment of Unai Emery, who made laudable progress in his opening weeks with the outfit.
But now Philippe Coutinho is reported to have requested an exit from the Midlands, having failed to find his feet with any regularity or conviction since his move from FC Barcelona.
Following reports over the past few weeks linking the 30-year-old with a move away from Villa Park, Goal Brasil have stated that the Brazilian wishes to return to his homeland, with a transfer request or a mutual termination of his contract avenues being touted.
Football is a wonderful sport, but ever so frustrating at times. Aston Villa fans will now join those of Barcelona in rueing the missed opportunity that has slipped through Coutinho’s fingers; a player of supreme quality and technical ability, ‘the little magician’ has failed to channel that wizardry.
Signed for the Villans on an initial loan deal last January, Coutinho made a resounding start, scoring against Manchester United on his debut, with then-manager Gerrard – who played alongside Coutinho for Liverpool – a large factor behind the ace’s decision to don the shirt.
Gerrard said: “He’s a wonderful footballer, to share a dressing room and a pitch with Coutinho was an absolute pleasure because he is on a level that very few footballers are on…You are talking about a world-class player.”
However, the South American star failed to build on his early form and slipped away from centre-stage.
And now this season, the maestro has failed to register a single direct goal contribution from 13 appearances this term, failing to ignite any meaningful drive towards aiding the team’s endeavours.
Labelled as “disappointing” by former Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor, the £125k-per-week ace will likely not have too many cries to stay from the Claret and Blue faithful, who are fed up with his lacklustre performances.
His departure could also prompt the signing of a fresh forward addition, one with capabilities to lift the club toward prominence once more; Joao Felix, Arnaut Danjuma and Nicolas Jackson have all been touted in recent weeks.
Coutinho’s career feels somewhat wasted, despite the phenom clinching several pieces of major silverware, such as the Champions League, with his level of talent failing to be properly and effectively utilised.
Villa can turn the page though, and get rid of the player, freeing up space in the squad and alleviating the high wage, subsequently poised to pounce for a talent of Emery’s making in the near future.