Former Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho has joined Aston Villa on loan till the end of the season from Barcelona and the Birmingham club has an option to buy him in the summer. The agreement is subject to the player passing his medical and obtaining a work permit. The Brazilian will reunite with Villa coach Steven Gerrard with whom he was teammates during their time at Liverpool.
Coutinho, 29, moved to Barca in January 2018 for a club-record fee of 150 million Euros but struggled to replicate his Liverpool form consistently for the Catalans. He moved to Bayern on loan and did well but not enough to be signed permanently. Coutinho also struggled with injuries that have decimated his sharpness. He scored 26 goals for Barcelona in 106 appearances and assisted 14 more.
Speaking ahead of his arrival, Steven Gerrard said, “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. 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.”
In Philippe Coutinho, Villa finally have a like-for-like Jack Grealish replacement despite the signing of Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey. Whether he can still replicate that magic with the ball is the question. Coutinho was an outstanding footballer capable of the spectacular. He scored 19 goals for Liverpool from outside the box, only his new manager scored more for the reds.