Aston Villa attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho may be deemed surplus to requirements under Unai Emery.
That is the view of journalist Dean Jones, who was speaking to GiveMeSport about the latest news from Villa Park.
After the sacking of previous head coach Steven Gerrard last month, Villa moved quickly to secure the services of ex-Villarreal boss Emery, who has taken over the reins at the club ahead of the visit of Manchester United on Sunday.
One of the former Arsenal head coach’s first tasks will be to reinvigorate the form of struggling Coutinho, who signed for the club for £17m this summer after a loan spell at the club during the second half of last season.
However, Jones has backed the Brazilian to be one of the players who might suffer following Emery’s appointment – and backed the Spaniard to play Emiliano Buendía in his place.
He said: “I think Coutinho is an obvious one to look at.
“Obviously, Steven Gerrard was a big reason that he landed at Villa in the first place.
“That bond that those two had was supposed to inspire Coutinho and get more out of him.
“So, I think it’s a tough moment for him, especially as I think Emery will probably prefer Buendia.”
TIF Thoughts on Jones’ comments…
We think that it is a no-brainer for Emery to be selecting Buendía and Leon Bailey over Coutinho for this weekend’s clash with Manchester United, with the latter producing zero goals and assists on 13 separate occasions for the Villans so far this season, according to Transfermarkt.
And while Bailey and Buendía haven’t set the world alight either, the pair have a combined three goals and two assists between the two of them, suggesting that both wide-men have earned their place in the team ahead of the 69-time Brazil international.
Therefore, we believe that there’s every chance Emery will look to try and move Coutinho on in January, with the attacking midfielder perhaps not doing enough to earn his reported £125k-per-week wages.