Newcastle United have reportedly taken advantage of Aston Villa’s hesitancy over Philippe Coutinho by insisting they ‘have no problem’ meeting Barcelona’s demands for the playmaker.
Coutinho has rediscovered his form on his return to the Premier League having moved to Aston Villa on loan in the January transfer window until the end of the season.
Villa have an option to sign the Brazilian for €40m, but are yet to commit to the permanent transfer.
And now Sport (via Sport Witness) claim Newcastle have made their move for the former Liverpool star.
The report states that while Villa have asked Barcelona for time to make their decision, Newcastle have ‘taken the opportunity’ to make their desire clear.
The Magpies have not only told Barcelona they will pay the €40m fee, but have also told Coutinho’s representatives that they would pay the 29-year-old what he’s currently earning at the Nou Camp.
It’s thought that Coutinho now considers Newcastle a ‘serious’ option and despite not wanting to join them in January, he has been impressed by their improvement in recent weeks.
An agreement between the two parties ‘would be possible’ and Barcelona want to get a deal done before June 30 so they can include the income in this year’s accounts.
The news of Newcastle’s interest and Barcelona’s desperation to see the back of Coutinho will ramp up the pressure on Villa to make a decision.
Arsenal have also been linked with Coutinho and last month former Liverpool and Chelsea full-back Glen Johnson urged the Gunners to make their move for the playmaker.
“If Arsenal got the chance to sign him then they need to sign him,” Johnson said.
“He would be the best number ten they’ve got without a shadow of a doubt. I think the move is a possibility if Arsenal get fourth. I should be Coutinho’s agent as I’ll never stop singing his praises.
“When this player enjoys his football then he’s got all sorts in his locker. He’s come to the hardest league in the world, into a team that was struggling and he’s running the show.”
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