Aston Villa ‘want Barcelona to HALVE £32m Philippe Coutinho transfer fee’ with Catalans desperate to get star off books

ASTON VILLA reportedly want Barcelona to HALVE their £32million asking price for Philippe Coutinho – as Newcastle and Arsenal hover.

Barca are keen to offload the huge wage-earner and loan club Villa have a purchase option on the ex-Liverpool playmaker.

ReutersPhilippe Coutinho has been linked with Newcastle but Villa hope to turn his loan spell into a permanent deal – if the price is right[/caption]

But Spanish newspaper Sport say the Midlanders want the fee slashed to ease the salary burden.

Mega-spenders Newcastle and Arsenal are also thought to be monitoring the Brazil star, 29.

And it’s claimed Barcelona must bank funds from selling him by June 30 to balance their spending.

Villa boss Steven Gerrard was delighted by Coutinho as the midfielder approached the form he showed when they were Liverpool team-mates.

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But after four goals and three assists in his first eight matches for Gerro’s men, the ex-Bayern Munich loanee has stuttered.

And in fact Coutinho’s recent muted displays have matched Villa’s own struggles in a run of four straight defeats.

He was hauled off after 70 minutes last time out, a 4-0 home loss against Tottenham on April 9.

It’s left Gerrard with question marks over Coutinho’s value.

But a fee of around £16m would be a far easier risk to swallow than twice that amount.

And it would also reduce the headache of Coutinho’s pay expectations.

He’s thought to be on around £480,000 a week with the Spanish giants.

That’s a major reason why Barca hope to move him on permanently at the end of the season.

ASTON VILLA reportedly want Barcelona to HALVE their £32million asking price for Philippe Coutinho – as Newcastle and Arsenal hover. Barca are keen to offload the huge wage-earner and loan club Villa have a purchase option on the ex-Liverpool playmaker. But Spanish newspaper Sport say the Midlanders want the fee slashed to ease the salary burden.Read MorePremier League – latest news, transfer rumours, results and fixtures |The Sun

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