By Anthony Onifade

22nd Jun, 2023 | 7:10pm

Philippe Coutinho surely heads for Aston Villa exit after Monchi appointment

Aston Villa are set for a big summer ahead following the appointment of Monchi as president of football operations, and his arrival may now prove the final nail in the coffin of Philippe Coutinho’s future.

The Villans announced the appointment of Ramón Rodriguez Verdejo ‘Monchi’ as the Club’s new President of Football Operations on 16 June, following the exit of CEO Christian Purslow.

The 54-year-old Spaniard worked alongside Villa manager Unai Emery at Sevilla, helping the La Liga club win three Europa League titles together, whilst Monchi has won seven in total.

The revival of his partnership with Emery follows Aston Villa’s qualification for next season’s Europa Conference League following their seventh-place finish in the Premier League.

Monchi has picked up an impressive reputation and successful acumen in his recruitment policy, especially at Sevilla, bringing through the likes of Jose Antonio Reyes, Jesus Navas and Sergio Ramos, whilst also brokering some stunning transfer dealings that pointed to a successful tenure at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.

Also, the Spanish transfer chief has proven an extremely astute broker of player departures and is certainly set for a hugely pivotal and crucial summer of transfer dealings in order to aid Emery in building a sustainable and well-oiled Aston Villa machine.

In order to do that, Villa’s outgoings will be just as crucial as their potential incomings and the future of their big-money Brazilian Coutinho has looked in serious jeopardy for a long while.

However, getting rid of his significant £125,000-a-week contract will have proven an incredibly difficult task, but with Monchi’s help, Aston Villa may well be set for a much-needed financial breather on their books, especially after the supposed contract offered to get new signing Youri Tielemans through the Bodymoor Heath doors.

Reunited with then Villa boss Steven Gerrard, a former team-mate at Liverpool, it seemed a great fit for the player and a club with lofty ambitions.

The initial results were impressive. Eight goal involvements (five goals and three assists) from 16 Premier League starts (19 appearances in total) were enough to earn a full-time deal for a reported £ 17million fee. (FBref)

Certainly, his incredible qualities may well prove useful should he stay on in Emery’s squad but the Spaniard has been known to pull the knife out on players who don’t offer more than their obvious talents, and that’s been a story of the past five years of Coutinho’s career.

Coutinho’s star has sadly been on the wane over the past few seasons and the 2022-23 campaign did indicate a player who struggles to influence a game like he used to.

Coutinho managed just one goal and zero assists, starting just seven league games and appearing in 20 in total. Indeed, he had an expected goal rate of only 1.4 and an expected assists rate of a mere 0.5 [FBRef].

He contributed only eight key passes and zero goal-creating actions. It makes for hugely disappointing reading for a player who is in the team to create opportunities for teammates and chip in with goals.

At this juncture, with Villa about to embark on a Europa Conference League ride next season, Emery can ill-afford passengers in the squad, let alone passengers on big money wages at Villa Park.

With Tielemans, Emi Buendia, Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn set to form a key part of Emery’s creative hub, coupled with some key additions, Coutinho’s role at the club looks a non-starter.

How Aston Villa will look to sell him looks like an impossible job, but with the knowledge and experience of the market that Monchi holds, it won’t be long before Coutinho is packing his bags and shown the Villa Park exit door.

In other Aston Villa news, the numbers that show where Emi Buendia needs to improve.