Coutinho, 29, has had a topsy-turvy time at Barcelona since signing for the club from Liverpool in 2018. He has spent two of the four season he has been with the Catalan giants on loan, and is now nearing the end of his sojourn in Spain.
The midfielder, currently on loan at Steven Gerrard-managed Aston Villa, is reportedly not in Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez’s plans for the coming season.
Meanwhile, Villa have been impressed with Coutinho, who hit the ground running and has been involved in seven goals (four goals and three assists) in 12 appearances since joining the club in January.
Reports claim that the West Midlands club want to keep the Brazilian but Gerrard, who played with Coutinho at Liverpool before retiring the season before the Brazilian left for Barcelona, has quenched the rumours.
Barcelona are aware of Coutinho’s impressive performances at Villa and now see an opportunity for more budget cuts. They sent the Brazilian on loan to England with a €40 million option to buy, which they plan to discuss this week with Coutinho and Villa.
There are concerns that while Coutinho and Villa have struck a good relationship, that the Brazilian may not want a permanent move to the club. The Catalan giants are also concerned that Villa may not be able to meet their €40 million valuation of the Brazilian.
However, it is guaranteed that Coutinho will not be a Barcelona player next season, so the meeting is to help the club plan for the summer by either negotiating with Villa or marketing him to other clubs who may be interested.
Coutinho, who has also played for three of the biggest clubs in Europe in Inter Milan, Bayern Munich (on loan from Barcelona) and Liverpool, spoke about how it feels to play for a club in a meek city.
Coutinho said: “I really like it here. I missed the Premier League and the people here. They treated me really well and I missed this. It’s good to be back here.
“The games here are so intensive so I like that type of game. I have to adapt again, I’m trying my best in training and I’m getting better from the intensity point of view. I think that’s the difference that I really like.
“In Spain, it is a different type of game. In Barcelona, normally you would have more time with the ball, more control and those are the different things. I don’t want to live in the past, I’m here at a great club and I want to give my best and enjoy my football here.
“The atmosphere in the stadium [Villa Park] is incredible, it’s amazing. I really missed the games here in the Premier League because the atmospheres in the stadiums are really intense here.”