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Al-Duhail emerge as possible destination for Aston Villa’s Philippe Coutinho

Al Duhail emerge as possible destination for Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho

Aston Villa forward Philippe Coutinho could be heading to Qatari club Al-Duhail before the transfer window closes on Friday.

According to Sky Sports, they have held talks with Villa over a potential deal that is expected to come with a bumper pay rise for the former Liverpool man.

The Brazilian forward has fallen out of favour at Villa Park since the arrival of Spanish manager Unai Emery but could be handed a lifeline in the Qatari top flight.

Coutinho joined Villa on an initial loan deal from Barcelona in January last year. After an impressive stint, Villa opted to make his stay permanent in a £17 million deal last summer.

The 31-year-old has made 41 appearances since arriving at the Birmingham club, rippling the net six times while providing three assists.

However, his numbers last season were far from encouraging, with the former Bayern Munich loanee notching just one assist in 22 appearances across all competitions.

Coutinho is not in Emery’s long-term plans, and Villa will be more than happy to offload him this summer, provided a suitable proposal arrives.

He was handed an eight-minute cameo in Villa’s 5-1 defeat to Newcastle United on the opening weekend of the 2023/24 Premier League campaign.

He started the subsequent 4-0 victory over relegation survivors Everton on the bench but was introduced in the 64th minute, replacing Douglas Luiz.

However, the Brazilian only lasted 20 minutes before picking up a potentially serious injury and was replaced by Cameron Archer, who has now joined Sheffield United.

Coutinho had previously been linked with a move to Al-Shabab and had already agreed personal terms with the Qatari outfit, but Villa stalled on sanctioning the transfer until a replacement was found.

Having added Nicolo Zaniolo to their squad, Coutinho could be better off leaving Villa before the transfer window closes, but it remains to be seen if his injury will ruin the prospect of an exit.

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