Aston Villa star Philippe Coutinho has reportedly decided he wants to leave the club in January in favour of returning to his home country, Brazil. The former Liverpool and Barcelona attacker, who only arrived at Villa Park at the start of this year, has been largely out of sorts this season.
Despite building up a reputation as a global superstar with some world-class performances in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Champions League over recent years, Coutinho has declined dramatically over the last 12 months or so.
Injury and fitness issues have troubled the 30-year-old, who has played just 42% of the minutes available to him in the league this term. He is yet to contribute a direct goal involvement and seems far away from new manager Unai Emery’s plans as it stands.
According to a report from Goal Brasil, Coutinho is keen on departing the West Midlands and a mutual contract termination or transfer request is a real possibility. Corinthians are one club said to be interested in the midfielder’s services, but the likelihood of high wage demands could prove to be tricky.
Coutinho arrived at Villa with real promise and was an instant hit with a goal on his debut against Manchester United. He went on to score four more goals and notched three assists in the second half of last season, and he earned a permanent move in the summer. This campaign has been nothing short of a disappointment, though, with just 569 minutes played.
Now that the club is aware of the Brazilian’s stance, Unai Emery and the staff assisting have a big decision to make. Whether he stays or departs awaits to be seen but it is likely Coutinho’s future will be a topic of hot debate throughout the January transfer window.