Aston Villa agree Philippe Coutinho deal well below initial asking price

Philippe Coutinho will likely start against Leeds

Aston Villa have reached an agreement with Barcelona to make the loan move for Philippe Coutinho a permanent one this summer for well below the reported initial asking price.

The Brazilian joined Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa in January, and has proved an instant hit on his return to the Premier League. Now 29 years old, and off the back of a slender few years outside of England, the diminutive playmaker has racked up four goals and three assists in 14 top flight outings since making the midlands move.

And, inserted into the deal was believed to be an option to purchase the player, which was thought to stand at 40m euros should Gerrard and co. wish to do so. However, as per reports in Spain, a permanent deal is now expected to be struck for less than half of that.

This will be music to the ears of Aston Villa fans, who have enjoyed the moments of magic brought to them by the former Liverpool man, and who will likely continue to reap the rewards of Gerrard's contacts in the transfer market.

What next for Watkins?

One man whose future is less clear is Villa striker Ollie Watkins, who has caught the eye of West Ham and Arsenal this year.

And, as per the Guardian, it is West Ham who are currently chasing the former-Brentford man most diligently, with rumours of a move worth up to £50m in the pipeline.

David Moyes' side certainly have that money to spend, having seen a similar-sized bid for Darwin Nunez rejected in the dying embers of the January transfer window. However, whether they would be willing to part with it in order to secure Ollie Watkins rather than the Uruguayan is another matter,

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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