Aston Villa has agreed to sign Philippe Coutinha on a Barcelona hosting with a summer option to acquire former Liverpool creator as he prepares to reunite with his old teammate Steven Gerrard.
In anticipation of a medical and work permit, the Brazilian national team will see the rest of the 2021-22 campaign in Villa Park, where it will try to rediscover the professional spark that has disappeared in Catalonia.
He previously played on the Premier League stage for five years at Anfield and will hope to continue where he left off. The 29-year-old first came to England in the winter of 2013, when Liverpool lured him away from Serie A giants Inter. Coutinho quickly settled in Merseyside and became a key creative wheel for the Reds under Brendan Rodgers.
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Although the main silver proved to be elusive, it was a productive stunt with the Reds: In total, Coutinho played 201 games in Liverpool and scored 54 goals, while also proving to be a useful source of assistance.
Welcome, Philippe Coutinho! 🙌
Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed on the terms where Philippe Coutinho will spend the rest of this season hosting at Villa Park. 🇧🇷
– Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 7, 2022
These efforts have earned many admiring views from a distance, with the opportunity to complete the dream transition to Barcelona presented in January 2018. The $ 198 million transfer would take place, but Coutinho tried to maintain his high standards at Camp Nou alongside Lionel Messi. And with unpleasant injuries proving problematic during his time at the club, Barcelona is finally ready to reduce its losses and move on.
Since then, various landing sites have been considered for him and it has been reported that six Premier League teams have shown interest. But he hopes that the once successful partnership with Gerrard on the field will bring a turn of fortune again.
Coutin’s dream move turns into a nightmare
When he left the Premier League in January 2018, the Brazilian was ready to establish himself as one of the best in the world. Four years later, he is trying to rebuild his career to throw away the nightmare of his “dream” move.
Few players trade Barcelona for Aston Villa and see it as a step forward, but it was a much-needed change for Coutinho.
Gerrard played with Coutin for two and a half seasons in Liverpool and his influence on the deal is clear. Villa, 13th in the Premier League, will rightly see this as a coup, even if others take a more cynical stance.
Coutinho, not to forget, is the third most expensive player in football history. Only Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have ever been transferred for the more than $ 198 million that Barcelona agreed with Liverpool in 2018.
He was 25 at the time and was about to enter his best career, and in Catalonia he was seen as the heir to Andres Iniesta, a player who excites fans and delivers trophies. He certainly won some trophies – two La League titles, two Copa del Rey trophies and the Spanish Super Cup in Barcelona, plus the Champions League during his tour in Bayern Munich in 2020 – but that wasn’t exactly why.
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Coutinho, Barcelona’s biggest reinforcement, has only a total of 30 matches for the club and 24 in the last two seasons. With Barcelona now focused on bloody young men such as Nico, Gavi and Yusuf Demir, Coutinho had to settle for a partial role and occasionally and often unsuccessfully appeared from the bench.
His place in the Brazil team also disappeared. His last cap came in October 2020, although he was somewhat surprisingly called to the lineup for the November World Cup qualifiers. But before him were all like Lucas Paqueta, Raphinha, Antony, Vinicius Junior, and Matheus Cunha; a sign of the challenge he faces if he wishes to break into Tite’s plans for Qatar.
Can Coutinho revive his career at Aston Villa?
Villa, of course, hopes to be the recipient, and will rely on Coutinho to rediscover the magic that Liverpool has lit up for him over five years on Merseyside. It was, after all, the reason Barcelona wanted to pay all that money for him.
Coutinh’s talent is enormous, his ability to carry the ball, pick up killer passes and produce stunning long-distance punches has the potential to seriously improve Gerrard’s side, which has remained inconsistent since the summer when Manchester City lost to Jack Grealish.
“I don’t think you’ll get a nickname like 𝗠𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗻 unless you’re a specialty football player.” ✨
Steven Gerrard on Philippe Coutinho, who agreed on the terms to spend the rest of this season hosting in Villa Park with an option to buy. 🤝 pic.twitter.com/BFbxhGLxkR
– Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 7, 2022
Coutinho was naturally associated with a number of Premier League clubs before moving to Aston Villa. Liverpool’s name was mentioned in almost every transition period, although the Reds’ attitude was always the same: no interest, no chance to return to Anfield, no matter how high Jurgen Klopp & Co. thought of it.
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He played more than 200 games for the Reds, scoring 54 goals, but fans also remember the way he tried to design the move to Barcy, the transfer request on the eve of the 2017-18 season and the curious “back injury” that Liverpool refused to sell , kept him out of the action for weeks.
Klopp’s party improved after he left. The fee received for Coutinho actually paid for the arrivals of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, who were key players, as Liverpool became European, world and eventually Premier League champion. They may have mourned his departure, but they did not miss him.
As soon as Coutinho gets to work for Villa, there will be, as one imagines, a lot of rubber boots. Fans, scholars and observers will be happy to see how much the four years in Barcelona have taken players and whether Gerrard can be the one to unlock this rich potential again.
If he can, then Villa may have downloaded the signature window. But it’s big if.