By Sam Stone

15th May, 2023 | 5:10pm

Philippe Coutinho Aston Villa future in doubt as Unai Emery eyes Giovani Lo Celso transfer

It’s certainly been a tough season for Philippe Coutinho, with the Aston Villa attacker struggling to reach top form under Unai Emery and Steven Gerrard.

Emery clearly has his favourites and, at present, the Brazilian has found himself well down the pecking order at Villa Park. With the summer window now within view, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the 30-year-old linked with a move away from the West Midlands.

Furthermore, after recent transfer rumours, the Villa boss could well be looking for alternatives. According to The Guardian’s Fabrizio Romano (via Twitter, 15 May), the Villans are considering a move for Giovani Lo Celso.

“Aston Villa have concrete interest in Gio Lo Celso and the player would be keen on the move; still waiting to understand who’s gonna be new Tottenham coach as he will return from Villarreal,” wrote Romano.

“Unai Emery, pushing for Lo Celso; but it’s not the only name on the list.”

It appears Emery is looking to land one or two attacking options in the summer and Lo Celso’s arrival could be bad news for Coutinho. The Argentine has one goal and four assists during the 2022/23 season whilst on loan at Villarreal and looks to be back to in some sort of form.

He certainly looks like more of an attacking threat. As per Wyscout, he’s averaging nearly two shots per game, and four successful dribbles with a 60 per cent success rate. These numbers are nearly identical to the Villa attackers, but Lo Celso’s links to Emery and Villarreal could well see the Spaniard make a move.

Furthermore, during Emery’s tenure at Villa Park, he’s been eager for his midfield players to make progressive runs into the opposition box and improve their goal threat. Jacob Ramsey averaged two touches in the box and Emi Buendia nearly three.

During the 2022/23 campaign, Coutinho has averaged 1.85 touches in the opposition box per 90 min, Lo Celso is averaging nearly three. He’s a player who looks a perfect match for Emery and the way he wants his attacking midfielders to play.

Lo Celso has been labelled a “brilliant” player by former Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson (Football Insider, 13 January 2022) and there’s no doubt that Emery would fancy his chances of turning the 27-year-old into a success at Villa Park. Coutinho should certainly be concerned.

In other Aston Villa news, Emery could get rid of this player who he started at Wolves last week.