Aston Villa are one of a number of Premier League clubs watching Philippe Coutinho’s situation as the Barcelona outcast seeks to leave the Nou Camp.
Barca are desperate to move the 29-year-old Brazil playmaker on after agreeing a deal to sign Ferran Torres from Manchester City for £55m.
Villa manager Steven Gerrard is a huge admirer of Coutinho, who he played with at Liverpool.
He has also been linked with Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle United and Spurs.
Coutinho is also keen for a fresh start as he tries to revive a career that has stalled badly since his £142m move from Liverpool in January 2018, although he did win the Champions League in 2020 while on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona.
Getting rid of Coutinho could ease Barcelona’s wage bill, which has meant they have been unable to register Torres as a player after signing him on 28 December.
The Brazilian was a key figure alongside Gerrard when Liverpool almost won the Premier League is 2014 and the idea of being reunited with his inspirational former captain may well hold appeal for a player with designs on joining a club of high ambition when he leaves Barcelona.
Gerrard is exploring options to strengthen his squad after leaving Rangers to succeed Dean Smith at Villa in November but says he will not be rushed into deals.
He said: “We won’t sign players for the sake of it just to add volume. We are looking and assessing certain players for certain positions in the squad.”