Aston Villa pull off Coutinho transfer coup

By Sports Desk January 07, 2022

Aston Villa have pulled off a significant coup by agreeing to sign Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho on loan for the rest of the season.

The Brazil playmaker returns to the Premier League four years after leaving Liverpool to join Barca in a big-money move.

Coutinho will be reunited with his former Reds team-mate Steven Gerrard, who was appointed as Villa boss in November.

The 29-year-old Coutinho, who is contracted to Catalan giants Barca until June 2023, spent a loan spell with Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 season.

He has endured an injury-hit time at Camp Nou, with Barca attempting to cut him from their squad in the last off-season as they looked to clear room on the wage bill to not only register new signings, but also keep hold of Lionel Messi.

No buyer could be found for Coutinho at the time, but he is now on the move, at least temporarily, to Villa, who are 13th in the Premier League.

Villa said: "Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park.

"The agreement, which is subject to the player completing a medical and receiving a work permit, also includes an option to buy and Philippe will travel to Birmingham in the next 48 hours."

Coutinho has made 16 Barca appearances across all competitions this season, starting five times and scoring two goals.

Across his time in Spain, he helped Barca win two LaLiga titles, the Copa del Rey twice and the Supercopa de Espana, scoring 26 goals in 106 appearances in all competitions. He scored 17 times in LaLiga.

 

Gerrard had refused to be drawn on talk of Coutinho joining Villa during a press conference on Thursday, but he lavished praise on the "magician".

"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 the former England midfielder.

"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."

Gerrard added: "I think if you go and have a look at his Wikipedia page, I think you'll see a serial winner wherever he's been.

"I've got nothing but positive things to say about the player. He's a friend of mine, so if I'm asked the questions I can speak for as long as you want."

Coutinho won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League during his season in Germany with Bayern.

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