By Danny Wright

28th Jun, 2023 | 4:24pm

Besiktas submit £6.9m loan-to-buy bid for Aston Villa star Philippe Coutinho as exit news emerges

By Dan Lewis

Besiktas are locked in talks with Aston Villa over an initial loan deal for Philippe Coutinho with an option to buy for £6.9million, according to Turkish outlet Milliyet.

Brazil international Coutinho only joined Villa on a permanent deal from Barcelona last summer for a reported £17million, having initially impressed on loan during the second half of the 2021-22 season.

However, a lack of playing time since Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard could see the 31-year-old embark on a fresh challenge in Turkey, with Besiktas hoping to reach an agreement with Villa.

“The Black-and-whites have offered a lease with the option to buy for the Brazilian star,” the Milliyet article read (27 June). 

“Besiktas want to meet 40 per cent of Coutinho’s salary in the first season and keep the option to buy at the end of the season.

“If Aston Villa agree to meet 60 per cent of Coutinho’s salary, Besiktas will now go to the final stage in the transfer of the Brazilian star. 

“In addition, Besiktas demands that Coutinho’s purchase option be €8m (£6.9m). Negotiations continue between the two clubs over testimonial negotiations.”

A route out

There is no doubt that Coutinho could do with a fresh challenge away from Villa Park after struggling to win over Emery, who succeeded Gerrard in the dugout in October.

Coutinho made 12 appearances prior to Emery’s first game in charge – a 3-1 win over Manchester United on 6 November – but was used only a further eight times in the Premier League before the season ended, and not at all after February.

The former Liverpool playmaker managed just one goal and zero assists across his 20 league outings, and his absence in the final three months of the campaign was clearly not felt by Villa as they finished strongly to end in seventh place and book a Europa Conference League qualifying spot. 

However, while Villa may not massively miss the Brazilian should he depart, paying 60 per cent of his wages – as per the Milliyet report – until the end of the season, before selling him at a loss of around £10million, is far less appealing.

Instead, it may be that Emery makes use of Coutinho in what is going to be a gruelling campaign for the Villans when factoring in their additional European commitments.

Coutinho undoubtedly has qualities that could be utilised by Emery, such as his 1.59 successful take-ons per 90 minutes last season being bettered only by Leon Bailey (1.83) among those to have started at least once for Villa, as per FBref, plus his experience of playing European football.

With three years to run on his contract, getting Coutinho on the field and potentially in the shop window – or better yet, back to his form of old – seems to be the better choice for Villa than allowing him to leave on the cheap this summer.

In other Aston Villa news, big-name signings are now on the cards after a behind-the-scenes arrival at Villa Park.