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Aston Villa must finally ditch Gerrard flop who earned more than Watkins

Written by on May 1, 2024

Aston Villa are enjoying a remarkable first full season under the leadership of Unai Emery as they edge closer to a top-half finish in the Premier League along with chasing continental glory.

They face Greek side Olympiacos in the Conference League semi-finals on Thursday evening, marking the first time the Midlands side have featured in that stage of a European tie since 1982.

Coincidently, they went on to win the European Cup that year, perhaps a good omen for Emery and his men.

While the climax to the current season is the main focus, perhaps the Spaniard will be thinking of the upcoming summer transfer window and how best to improve his squad.

He may need to sell a player or two in order to comply with financial fair play regulations, with one exiled high earner surely a favourite to depart this summer – Philippe Coutinho.

How much Aston Villa paid for Coutinho

During Steven Gerrard’s first transfer window in charge of Villa, he utilised his former Liverpool connection to land Coutinho on a six-month loan deal from Barcelona in what was a stunning move.

The Brazilian took to life back in the Premier League with ease, becoming a key figure for the club as they finished 14th in the table.


coutinho-aston-villa-premier-league-transfer-emery-kellyman

The former Anfield gem scored five goals and chipped in with three assists across just 19 league matches. As a result, Gerrard stumped up around £17m to secure him on a permanent deal ahead of the summer transfer window in 2022 as he looked to build a team that could challenge for the European spots.

“This is a brilliant signing for Aston Villa,” said Gerrard upon announcing his former teammate. “Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January.”

On the surface, this looked like a wonderful bargain, especially considering Barcelona had splashed out a staggering £146m to sign him in January 2018.

Philippe Coutinho’s statistics at Aston Villa

Following a sublime loan spell, there were high expectations for Coutinho ahead of the 2022/23 season, but things soon turned sour.

The attacking midfielder failed to score in his first 19 Premier League matches for the club after arriving permanently, only opening his account against Arsenal midway through February.

Philippe Coutinho’s stats in the PL for Aston Villa

Metric

2021/22

2022/23

Goals

5

1

Assists

3

0

Key passes per game

1.3

0.4

Big chances created

5

0

Successful dribbles per game

1.1

0.7

Via Sofascore

This proved to be his only goal throughout the entire campaign, having played in just 22 matches due to suffering a hamstring injury which kept him out for eight games during November and December.

Once Emery arrived in mid-October, it appeared as though Coutino wasn’t in his long-term plans, playing him just 11 times between then and the end of the season.

Among his teammates, he only ranked 12th for goals and assists in the top flight (one), tenth for key passes per game (0.4) and sixth for successful dribbles per match (0.7), hardly the stats of a world-class player at the peak of his powers.


Philippe Coutinho

At the start of the current season, Emery sent him out on loan to Al Duhail as he clearly was not in his plans. With two years left on his current Villa contract, the Spaniard will be aiming to secure a fee for him this summer, especially considering he has rinsed Villa for millions.

How much Coutinho cost Villa in wages

Not only did signing Coutinho cost the club £17m, but since his arrival, his weekly wage has hardly been cheap either.

Indeed, throughout the entire 2022/23 season, the 31-year-old was earning an eye-watering £125k-per-week, meaning he took home £6.5m for the whole season.


philippe-coutinho-aston-villa-premier-league

With just 22 appearances and one goal to his name, Villa have clearly had a shocker on the attacking midfielder.

Combining his transfer fee and wages from last season, Coutinho has rinsed the Midlands side of £23.5m for just one season in England, certainly indicating the need for Emery to get him off the books as fast as possible.

Additionally, this weekly wage is currently more than what Ollie Watkins – arguably their finest performer this season – is earning each week.

The Englishman has been incredible throughout 2023/24, scoring 26 times while adding another 12 assists to put Villa on the brink of both continental glory and a top-four finish in the top flight.


ollie-watkins-fulham

The former Brentford striker earns £120k-per-week, which is £5k lower than what Coutinho has been earning at Villa, showcasing how much of a mistake Gerrard had with the Brazilian talent in 2022.

Emery will be hoping his loan spell will allow him to showcase his abilities in order to secure a move elsewhere this summer, as it would be a colossal waste of money having him in the squad when he won’t gain any minutes on the pitch.

Philippe Coutinho’s stats for Al Duhail

It appears as though the former Barcelona star has found his level in Qatar. Not only has he managed to score three goals in the top flight for Al Duhail, but he has registered two assists, created eight big chances, averaged 1.9 key passes per game and succeeded with 1.1 dribbles per match – a success rate of 51% – showing that he has taken his opportunity with both hands thus far.

Could his future lie in the Middle East? These impressive performances certainly won’t go unnoticed, and it could give Emery the perfect licence to move him on, potentially securing a decent transfer fee in the process.

It looked as though Villa and Coutinho were a match made in heaven when he arrived in 2022. Under his former teammate, the Brazilian should have been the fulcrum of the Villa side which could have improved in the top flight and challenged for a European spot.

Instead, he underperformed massively and now finds himself on a temporary spell in Qatar, hardly what his career trajectory looked like just a few years ago when he was turning out for Barcelona.

Freeing up his wages will allow the manager to bring a few more players into the squad and selling him seems like a no-brainer this summer, that’s for sure.

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