Newcastle United are reportedly interested in Philippe Coutinho and are willing to pay Barcelona’s asking price if Aston Villa back out of triggering their buy option.

According to Fichajes, Philippe Coutinho could permanently join a Premier League club, with Newcastle United entering the race to sign the Brazilian playmaker. Aston Villa currently employ the attacking midfielder and hold a buy option clause, which could prove crucial in determining the next destination for the Barcelona loanee.

For all his reputation and talent, Philippe Coutinho remains one of Barcelona’s big financial mistakes. The Catalan side decided to spend over €135 million on the Brazilian playmaker, who never found his feet in the team, despite coming from Liverpool with a huge promise.

Barcelona have been looking to offload him in the last few years, wherein they only managed to send him on loan deals. Coutinho’s salary demands and the La Liga giants’ potential asking price always proved difficult for interested parties to match, although they could find a solution in the upcoming summer transfer window.

Coutinho joined Aston Villa on a loan deal until the end of the season, and the Villans have a buy option worth €40 million inserted in the contract. The Midlands outfit have the privilege to exercise this option and then agree on personal terms separately with the player.

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Aston Villa are cautious over making a permanent move, as it will involve a significant financial commitment for a player nearing his thirties. Coutinho certainly has the quality and pedigree to excel with the team; the money, including his potential high wages, could prove problematic.

Aston Villa are preparing to sell a few players to balance their books heading into the next window, with Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins facing uncertain futures at Villa Park. As things stand, a permanent move for Coutinho could be in doubt, amid rising competition from other clubs, including Newcastle United.

Arsenal are also reportedly interested in Coutinho, but Newcastle United could become the more realistic destination if their intentions are clear. Newcastle United are in the middle of a squad revamp, and the club needs established players who could upgrade their market profile.

Coutinho certainly has the reputation to become a key figure in a new-look Newcastle United side. The Magpies are prepared to shell out the €40 million required to sign the Barcelona playmaker. Their chances will depend on Villa’s final decision to exercise the buy option in the loan deal.

If Aston Villa decide against making the significant investment, Newcastle are expected to be ready to pounce on the opportunity to land Coutinho. Whatever the outcome, Barcelona could be the real winner, as Coutinho will likely be sold one way or another, with the financial windfall coming in to aid their rebuilding project over at Camp Nou.

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