By Dan Carter

1st Sep, 2023 | 6:10am

Philippe Coutinho chooses preferred club as Aston Villa exit nears - Fabrizio Romano

Philippe Coutinho prefers a move to Al Duhail over remaining in European football as he looks set to leave Aston Villa, according to Fabrizio Romano.

The transfer specialist took to Twitter on Thursday (31 August) to report that the Brazilian midfielder had decided that despite approaches from both Real Betis and Besiktas, he would prefer to make the switch to Qatar this summer.

Coutinho has looked likely to depart Villa Park this summer with a move to the Middle East a likely destination after the 31-year-old had reached an advanced stage on personal terms [Romano, 27 August] but the two clubs were yet to agree a deal.

A deal between Betis or Besiktas and Unai Emery’s side had seemed fairly easy to complete, with Villa happy to sell for the right fee [Romano, 31 August], but it is unknown whether or not negotiations will be as straightforward with the Qatari side.

Late move

It will be interesting to see if Coutinho is able to get the Villa Park exit he’s been chasing this summer as the progress between Villa and Al Duhail doesn’t seem to be progressing as quickly as the internet from Betis and Besiktas.

Emery’s side could do with selling the Brazilian this summer as he is one of the highest earners at the Midlands club and with three years left on his contract, it would be a huge weight off of the wage bill at Aston Villa.

So far this season, Villa’s midfield have been superb and that’s with Youri Tielemans restricted to appearances from the bench, such is the inspired form of Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Boubacar Kamara.

With Nicolo Zaniolo also added to the midfield ranks at Villa Park, Emery is well stocked for what will be a busy season, both domestically and in Europe. If they receive a big fee before the window closes they may even be able to add to their side.

In other Aston Villa news, one midfielder went under the radar in Villa’s win over Burnley