Coutinho under threat as Spanish press names Villarreal star as Unai Emery’s first Villa signing

Philippe Coutinho, Aston Villa, October 2022 Credit: Alamy
Philippe Coutinho, Aston Villa, October 2022 Credit: Alamy

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is reportedly keen to raid his former club, Villarreal, for a player that will reportedly place Philippe Coutinho’s place in the side under serious threat.

A manager of Emery’s calibre should be able to haul Villa out of a tough spot and up the Premier League table. Indeed, former manager Steven Gerrard left them within touching distance of the drop zone.

However, given Emery’s previous successes, Villa should not be in danger for too much longer. The Spaniard has won four Europa League titles, as well as a Ligue 1 title.

He also has a knowledge of how to manage in the Premier League, finishing fifth in his only full season at Arsenal.

Gerrard was given the opportunity to splash the cash before he was sacked by Villa. The former manager spent £27million on Lucas Digne in his first transfer window at Villa Park.

In the summer, he made numerous additions to the side. Gerrard spent more than £60million, adding the likes of Diego Carlos and Philippe Coutinho, as well as snaring Boubacar Kamara on a free transfer.

It would be no surprise if Emery was able to spend big, to add some more quality to the side.

He will no doubt be keen on putting his own influence on his squad. That could mean there are some major changes soon to come in the Villa side.

Emery keen on Villarreal raid

It seems Emery is ready to make his first move as Villa boss. Mundo Deportivo reports that he wants to raid his former club for an exciting forward.

That forward is Nicolas Jackson, who was promoted to the Yellow Submarine’s first team under Emery last season. He registered one assist in 27 minutes of La Liga football, as he was eased in.

This season, he has been one of Villarreal’s most potent attackers. In 17 games in all competitions, the forward has contributed to five goals, and he is the side’s fourth-highest goalscorer.

His influence is clear, as all of those goals have come in Villarreal wins, and two of them were the deciding goals in matches. Villa could certainly do with somebody who gets involved at important times.

There is also reported interest in Jackson from Barcelona. However, the fact he could link up with his former boss, who gave him his chance in senior football, could mean Villa are in the lead.

The report states that Emery has instructed the club to ‘move quickly’ to try to sign his former star. Indeed, if all goes well, he could be the manager’s first piece of business at Villa Park.

Coutinho in potential peril

The potential snare of Jackson could be to the detriment of one or two Villa stars. Indeed, the winger – who can also play up top – would be fighting for a spot in the front line.

Anybody not performing in those areas could find themselves without a role. That is where things could become rough for Coutinho.

The Brazilian was brought to the club by Gerrard, and did well initially. Indeed, he was directly involved in four goals in his first three games as a Villa player.

However, he has contributed to just four goals since then – his most recent being on the last day of last season. His performances have left a lot to be desired this season, and he has been rated as one of the most disappointing players in the league.

He did not even make his way onto the pitch in Gerrard’s last game of the season. Under interim manager Aaron Danks, and in Emery’s first game, he has played just 48 minutes, coming on off the bench in both games.

That might be a sign of things to come, and with more talent being added to the ranks, he could be in even more danger. Should he not find form soon, he might well find himself on the sidelines more and more.

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