Whilst Aston Villa are unable to add players contracted to other clubs due to the closure of the transfer window, they are soon set to lose a forward player where the transfer window remains open elsewhere. Philippe Coutinho is now primed to secure a loan move to Qatar side Al-Duhail, according to transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano.
Coutinho, who turned 31 earlier this summer, has been linked with the Villa Park exit door for a little while now. However, it would finally appear his future is set to be resolved by switching across to the Qatar Stars League. The former Liverpool man came off the bench to appear in their opening two Premier League games this season, but hasn't been involved since.
With confirmation coming from the ever-trusted source of Romano, it would appear that it is only a matter of time before he is officially off the books at Aston Villa. He is only one-year into the four-year deal he signed this time last year when making his loan move from Barcelona permanent, and one would suspect he is on quite a high wage that the club are eager to offload him from.
Romano also confirmed that Coutinho himself made his mind up over making this particular move almost two weeks ago, which would then suggest why he hasn't even been named on the bench for Villa over their last four games in all competitions. Coutinho will soon complete a loan switch to his new club, although that could well become permanent at a later date potentially.
Perhaps surprising to some comes from the revelation that Coutinho turned down two other deals before setting his heart of linking up with Al-Duhail. Besiktas are one of those teams, who recently completed the signing of Eric Bailly from Manchester United on a free transfer, and also added ex-Premier League player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to their roster this summer.
The second team is that of Real Betis from Spain's La Liga. From the outside looking in, this looks a very attractive transfer and also the prospect of still playing in one of the top leagues in world football. Perhaps it is something of a confidence issue that saw Coutinho decide against this, instead electing to play in the Qatar Stars League, perhaps to build up himself to a level where he is close to his best again. With it being a loan deal, his Aston Villa career is not necessarily over just yet.
Al-Duhail will cover all of Coutinho's wages, which is clearly a big indicator in why Aston Villa are happy to let him depart on a loan deal instead of permanent for now. Since joining the Birmingham-based club, Coutinho has netted six Premier League goals across 41 appearances. His last goal came earlier this year in February during a 4-2 home defeat to Arsenal.
Coutinho will instantly become the star player in the Al-Duhail squad purely based upon reputation. The squad is largely made up of players from Qatar, with a couple of foreign imports such as former Sunderland winger Isaac Lihadji. He will at least have a high-profile manager looking over him in the form of legendary Argentine Hernan Crespo, who has been at the helm since his appointment in March 2022.