The obstacles standing between Aston Villa and dramatically Philippe Couti…

Every move window has an eye-catching story and Philippe Coutinho appears to have grabbed the headlines in this one.

The 29-year-old Brazilian has struggled to justify his £142million move to Barcelona and new Camp Nou boss Xavi is willing to offload him this month.

Aston Villa are among several interested parties in the Premier League with Steven Gerrard – a former Liverpool teammate of Coutinho’s – keen to bring the playmaker to Birmingham.

There are some obstacles standing in Villa’s way though.

Ultimately, cash-strapped Barcelona will accept the best offer on the table as they look to free up funds to register new signing Ferran Torres.

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Barcelona reportedly wanted to obtain a fee of £42million to sell Coutinho in the summer, but his record in Catalunya made that nigh-on impossible.

Coutinho has scored five goals in his last 30 appearances for Barcelona and hasn’t represented his country since 2020.

Barcelona have reluctantly accepted that their best bet of getting rid of Coutinho – whose contract expires in 2023 – is to loan him out and subsidise his wages.

The question is: how much of Coutinho’s reported £320,000 per week wage would Villa be prepared to pay?

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Villa are bankrolled by billionaire duo Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, but the club are nevertheless a long way away from paying players such an astronomical wage.

It was reported earlier this year that Villa planned to up Jack Grealish’s wage to £150,000 per week in a last-ditch attempt to keep him away from Manchester City’s clutches.

already if Barcelona agreed to halve Coutinho’s wage, he could nevertheless possibly become Villa’s biggest ever weekly earner.

Barcelona aren’t putting all their eggs in Villa’s basket, with numerous other Premier League clubs alerted to Coutinho’s availability.

Philippe Coutinho in action for FC Barcelona during a La Liga match against Deportivo Alaves at Camp Nou

Mega-high Newcastle United have been offered Coutinho, according to ChronicleLive. They report: “There’s a deal to be done on Coutinho for somebody and if Newcastle want to pursue it, it is there for them.”

Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have also been connected with Coutinho, whose representatives are putting the feelers out.

If Villa can justify the huge weekly outlay, they have a trump card in Gerrard.

While the Villa boss didn’t publicly let in his interest in signing Coutinho at his latest press conference, he couldn’t hide his admiration for the wantaway Barcelona star.

“Listen, he’s a wonderful footballer,” Gerrard said. “To proportion a dressing room and a pitch with Coutinho was an absolute pleasure because he was on a level that very few footballers are on.

“His imagination, creation and, also, some of the highlight reels are incredible for all to see. I think the name speaks for itself but what I won’t do here, or at any other press conference, is speak about players who belong to other clubs.

“That’s not fair or respectful so… But I do appreciate that his name is out there and he’s connected to Aston Villa. But he’s also connected to five or six other clubs in this league and I’m sure there will be a long list of foreign clubs who are connected with Philippe’s sets in addition because you’re talking about a world-class individual player.

“I understand and respect it but I can’t give anything further than that.”

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