Aston Villa: 68-cap star facing uncertain future at Villa Park

Aston Villa loan signing Philippe Coutinho cannot afford for his performance levels to drop if he wants to earn a permanent move to Villa Park, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

Coutinho made a flying start to his Villa career after joining the club on a temporary basis in January, but he has delivered a number of underwhelming displays recently.

What’s happened with Coutinho at Aston Villa?

Coutinho’s Villa career could hardly have got off to a better start as he scored on his debut against Manchester United, and then registered three goal contributions at home to Leeds the following month.

He was also in the thick of the action at the start of March, scoring a goal and providing an assist against Southampton, before finding the net in the reverse fixture at Leeds five days later.

However, he has failed to be involved in a goal in his last five outings, with Villa only picking up a single point from these matches.

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What has Jones said about Coutinho?

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claimed in early March that Steven Gerrard wanted to keep Coutinho at Villa Park beyond this season, with the club having an option to buy him for €40m (£33m).

Yet with the 68-cap international’s form having dipped, Jones has suggested that Coutinho needs to do more to prove that he deserves a permanent contract.

Jones told GIVEMESPORT: “Suddenly, seeing him going off the boil a little bit, in terms of numbers, and that can’t happen. If they are going to invest that amount of money into Philippe Coutinho, he has to be the talisman of that team. And he has to take the pressure on his shoulders, and just go with it, and just lift that team and take them forwards.”

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Should Villa take a gamble on Coutinho?

A month ago, this decision seemed like a no-brainer. Coutinho looked back to somewhere near his best, and was delivering the goods for the Midlands club.

However, his form has fallen away since then, and that could be a concern for Villa. They may now have doubts about whether he can consistently perform at the highest level, or if he was just experiencing a purple patch.

Coutinho has shown before that he can shine in the Premier League when he was at Liverpool, but he left the Reds over four years ago. Can he still play like that, week in, week out?

That is something that Villa need to figure out in the final few weeks of the season before deciding whether to keep the 29-year-old playmaker or not.

If they don’t believe he can stand up and be counted on a regular basis, they would be better off avoiding making him the second-most expensive player in their history.

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