By Daniel Feliciano

8th Apr, 2023 | 12:30pm

Aston Villa must let Philippe Coutinho move to Saudi Arabia amid 'Huge interest', he's the worst in the squad

It was about a year ago where Aston Villa fans were absolutely buzzing as Philippe Coutinho was confirmed to have signed on a permanent deal from Barcelona.

The Brazilian joined on long in January 2022 to link up with former teammate Steven Gerrard and returned to Premier League action with a bang and in great form.

Slowly but surely those assists, goals and all-round good performances disappeared, and when Gerrard was sacked he had already lost his place in the team.

Under Unai Emery he has had a handful of chances to earn his place back, but injuries have hindered the now 30-year-old playmaker and question marks have been raised about his future at Villa Park.

Reports last week (3 April, Football Insider) suggest that he is now of interest to a club in Saudi Arabia who are showing “huge” interest in taking him away from the Premier League once again.

While some are questioning if that is a good decision because of how Emery wants to play going forward, but the stats show that is should simply be a no-brainer for Aston Villa to let him leave.

His best positions are either off the left or in the number ten role, areas where the squad is stacked and has plenty of quality options. The best of those options are Leon Bailey, Emi Buendia and Jacob Ramsey.

When you compare Coutinho’s statistics to those three this season per 90 minutes, he’s simply the worst of the lot.

According to WhoScored, the only attacking metrics in which Coutinho performs better than his three teammates and positional rivals are that he is dispossessed fewer times per game (0.9, the same as Ramsey) and he has fewer bad controls per game (1.2 compared to Bailey’s 1.5, Ramsey’s 1.8 and Buendia’s 1.4).

But when it comes to goals, assists, key passes, being fouled and shots per game he is behind at least two of the three who are currently ahead of him in the pecking order.

If you want him to be more of a playmaker who dictates games, then you’ll be disappointed by his passing statistics too.

This season Coutinho has averaged fewer key passes per game (0.4 compared to 0.8, 1 and 1) than all three of Bailey, Ramsey and Buendia.

He also manages fewer passes per game than Ramsey and Buendia, and his passing accuracy is worse than those two also. Coutinho is also less direct, with just 0.1 passes per game being considered as a “long ball” by WhoScored.

Ultimately, Coutinho’s time at the top level is over. Aston Villa know it, Unai Emery knows it and if he’s honest, Coutinho knows it too.

Emery needs to be given a chance to bolster and strengthen the squad in his own image this summer, and it clearly doesn’t include Coutinho.

Get his massive wages off the books and lets whip this squad into shape for a European push next season.

In other Aston Villa news, the return of Diego Carlos could lead to a system change under Emery.