Paul Robinson claims Aston Villa manager Unai Emery will have the final call on Philippe Coutinho’s future but would not be surprised if a sale is on the horizon.
The former Tottenham and England keeper believes Villa could bring in two more signings if they got the Brazilain off the wage bill, bolstering Emery’s squad in the process.
Coutinho has yet to start a game under Emery, making cameo roles off the bench instead.
Sources are said to have told Football Insider in late December that Villa are open to a sale – just a year after the player’s arrival.
The 30-year-old originally joined on loan from Barcelona before completing a £17million switch last summer.
However, he has not looked anything like the same player that prompted Barca to fork out £142m for his services back in 2018.
And Robinson thinks Emery will be considering the player’s exit. Especially if it means bringing in more players the Spaniard actually wants on board.
Coutinho exit could benefit Villa
“Villa’s owners back the manager and I’m sure they will do the same with Emery. His decision will likely be final.
“Emery has to be allowed to do what he wants to do with the squad. If he wants to get rid of Coutinho, so be it.
“Coutinho will be on big wages and if he leaves it might free up room for a couple of signings.
“Alternatively, Emery might want to build the team around him. Whatever happens, Emery needs freedom.
“It will not take one or two windows. It will take time. A manager does not get a job when the team is doing well and the squad is in great shape. There will have to be changes at Villa and Coutinho might be one of them.”
Villa are next in action on Sunday afternoon when they host Stevenage in the FA Cup third round.
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