Aston Villa have an option to sign Philippe Coutinho at the end of the season; Coutinho was eager to leave Barcelona and return to the Premier League in search of regular football; the Brazilian previously played with current Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard at Liverpool.
Philippe Coutinho is on loan from Barcelona to Aston Villa until the end of the season.
The agreement, which is conditional on the player passing a medical and obtaining a work permit, also includes a buyout clause, and Coutinho will travel to Birmingham within the next 48 hours.
According to Barcelona, Villa will pay a portion of the player’s salary during the loan agreement.
Coutinho wanted to return to England and play regular football, and he sees Villa as a forward-thinking club that is creating something special for the future.
The Brazil midfielder is well-known to manager Steven Gerrard, having spent two-and-a-half years with him at Liverpool, and is said to be well-versed in Villa and their squad.
According to reports, Coutinho could return to Liverpool this month, and he would welcome the opportunity.
However, Liverpool are not believed to have pursued a move for the 29-year-old during the January transfer window.
Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool for a club-record £146 million in January 2018, but he has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular at the Nou Camp, spending the 2019/20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.
Coutinho is a winner, according to Gerrard.
Manager Steven Gerrard said on Thursday, ahead of the signing of Coutinho:
“Sixty-three caps for Brazil, a serial winner, was incredible at Liverpool, so I can understand why he’s linked to a lot of football clubs,” said Gerrard.
“I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him. I don’t think you get a nickname as a magician if you’re not a special footballer, so he’s someone I have an incredible amount of respect for.
“But I don’t want to add to any speculation, because he belongs to Barcelona.”
Coutinho could step in to fill the void left by Grealish.
Philippe Coutinho was once mentioned by Jack Grealish as one of his favorite players to watch on YouTube. “He always has that one where he goes left and drops like a little shimmy, which is what I like to do.” The journey has now come full circle.
While Grealish honed his craft to earn a £100 million move to Manchester City, Coutinho returns to the Premier League to take his place at Aston Villa. If the Brazilian can maintain the form that propelled him from Liverpool to Barcelona, he will be an excellent acquisition.
The two players have some similarities. Grealish praised Coutinho’s ability to “go past players like they’re not there,” which is something Villa admired in their former captain. This season, they’ve been missing that player who can make things happen.
Is Grealish’s Coutinho still alive and well? At 29, he still has time to rediscover his best form under former teammate Steven Gerrard, but his career has stalled at Barcelona. There is fun to be had if Coutinho, like Grealish, is inspired by being the main man at Villa Park.