Aston Villa ‘green light’ Saudi move for Champions League winning Villain to lighten wage bill

Philippe Coutinho was on fire when first joining Aston Villa but has fallen out of favour under Unai Emery.
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Aston Villa midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been given the green light to leave the club this summer after falling out of favour under Unai Emery, according to reports.

The former Champions League winner has been given permission to speak to clubs in the Middle East should he want to join the exodus of Premier League stars being tempted by the big-money leagues in that corner of the world.

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Football Insider reports that Aston Villa are willing to facilitate talks with clubs in Saudi Arabia and Qatar as the final two weeks of the summer transfer window begin.

Saudi clubs have been sniffing around a deal for the Brazilian, who didn't make a single league appearance from March onwards last season. Coutinho has come off the bench in both of Villa's opening two fixtures this season the club are keen to offload the player who is believed to be their top earner to free up some space on the wage bill.

The ex-Liverpool man still has three years left on his contract in the Midlands after his loan deal was made permanent at Aston Villa last summer by Steven Gerrard.

Gerrard signed his former teammate in January 2022 and the midfielder hit the ground running on his return to the Premier League. Coutinho picked up four goals and three assists in his first eight appearances and looked to be a tremendous signing for Aston Villa.

Philippe Coutinho limped off against Everton (Image: Getty Images)Philippe Coutinho limped off against Everton (Image: Getty Images)
Philippe Coutinho limped off against Everton (Image: Getty Images)
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Unai Emery's revolution at the club has been bad news for Coutinho, who could now follow stars including Roberto Firmino, Ngolo Kante, Ruben Neves, Edouard Mendy and more in moving to Saudi Arabia this summer.

Any suitors for Coutinho will be aware that the star limped off the field of play against Everton at the weekend, but Emery has insisted that the knock is as serious as some may have first feared.

The Villa manager said: “We think [it’s] not a big injury. I think it’s his hamstring but we have to wait until tomorrow for analysis. Hopefully, in two or three weeks he’ll be available again."

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