At the start of this month, we relayed news from Spain that the fee needed to retain Philippe Coutinho at Villa Park beyond this season is ‘not a problem’ for Aston Villa.

The Premier League side took the attacking midfielder on a loan deal from Barcelona in the winter market.

Coutinho managed two goals and two assists in his first three matches for Aston Villa. Since then, he has two goals and an assist from 10 matches. The Barca owned player has failed to score or register an assist in the last five matches.

Sport now states the Brazil international has ‘faded’ and is ‘going through a rough patch’, after a ‘brilliant’ start to his time with Steven Gerrard’s side. His ‘decline’ goes ‘hand-in-hand’ with the ‘decline’ of the English club’s results in recent matches.

The ex-Liverpool star’s poor displays in recent matches have ‘set off all the alarms’ at the Camp Nou.

Gerrard had earlier urged Aston Villa to pay the €40m fee to retain Coutinho. However, Sport explain the player’s performances until the end of the season ‘will be key’.

Coutinho’s dip in form has left Xavi Hernández’s side concerned and they are worried that Aston Villa could decide against buying him for €40m in the summer.

The South American’s desire is to continue in England and a move to Newcastle United could be considered, if Aston Villa walk away from making his deal permanent.