Philippe Coutinho is set to agree a move to a Premier League club by this weekend, with Aston Villa one of six English clubs in a race to sign the Barcelona midfielder.
The former Liverpool player wants to return to England and sign for an ambitious club where he can play regularly.
The 29-year-old, who is also attracting interest from teams abroad, will decide his next club before this weekend.
Aston Villa have made a tentative enquiry to Barcelona but Villa’s bosses are conscious of avoiding a bidding war with other clubs.
The Brazilian’s wage demands could also be significant, however Villa boss Steven Gerrard is a keen admirer of Coutinho, having played alongside him at Liverpool for two-and-a-half years.
Coutinho has made 16 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona this season and is under contract at the Nou Camp until June 2023.
The former Inter Milan player is the Spanish giants’ club-record signing after he joined from Liverpool for £146m in January 2018.
But Coutinho, who has scored 28 goals in 105 games for Barca, has struggled to make an impact for the La Liga side, where he has won four major trophies.
He spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Bayern and won the Champions League, the Bundesliga, and the German Cup under Hansi Flick.
No club is in pole position to sign Coutinho
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol on The Transfer Show:
“There are lots of clubs interested in signing Coutinho, including six Premier League clubs, as well as clubs abroad.
“But he wants to come back to England and to return to the Premier League.
“I’m told no club is in pole position at the moment to sign him.
“I don’t think he knows where he’s going, but he’s got lots of options and his representatives are speaking to different clubs.
“We’ve seen his move to Barcelona hasn’t worked out, it’s been very stop-start. He wants to go somewhere where he can settle and play regularly.”
Villa interested in Bologna’s Hickey
Aston Villa are interested in highly-rated Scottish defender Aaron Hickey, Sky Sports News has been told.
The 19-year-old left-back moved to Italian side Bologna in the summer of 2020, after breaking through at Hearts.
He has played 19 games in Serie A already this season, scoring four goals.
Steven Gerrard was originally impressed by Hickey’s performances for Hearts against his Rangers team in Scotland, and believes he could adapt well to the Premier League.
Villa are also exploring other possibilities to strengthen at left-back.
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Who will be on the move in January?
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