Aston Villa open talks to sign Philippe Coutinho
Premier League side Aston Villa have reportedly opened talks to make Philippe Coutinho’s loan from Barcelona permanent.
According to 90min, Aston Villa have officially approached Barcelona over a permanent transfer for Philippe Coutinho. Steven Gerrard’s side are eager to sign the Brazilian playmaker permanently after being impressed with him during his short stint until his return to England. The Premier League side can sign him for £34m in the summer window under a clause in their loan deal.
Coutinho returned to England to join Aston Villa on a six-month loan from Barcelona during the January transfer window. The former Liverpool midfielder was an instant hit, scoring four goals and assisting three in ten Premier League appearances.
His first Premier League appearance came against Manchester United, where he scored inside 22 minutes in the second half to help Villa draw 2-2. With Coutinho fully fit, Aston Villa are keen to tie him down on a permanent deal in hopes he can recreate some of the magic he did with Liverpool.
The Brazilian joined the Reds in a €13 move from Inter Milan in 2013 and spent five years at Anfield. He became the club’s most important player during this period, scoring 54 goals and assisting another 45 in 201 appearances. Coutinho was then sold to Barcelona in the January 2018 transfer window for a record fee of €160m.
Philippe Coutinho is enjoying his football again 😁 pic.twitter.com/gLmrQQv9GQ
— GOAL (@goal) March 22, 2022
The grass wasn’t any greener for the Brazilian in Spain as he struggled to get into Barcelona’s starting line-up. A loan spell at Bayern Munich followed after 18 months of inconsistency. In Bavaria, he scored 11 goals and provided 9 assists in 38 matches and the Blaugrana hoped he would continue in the same vein, but that didn’t quite happen.
Another period of inconsistency followed at Barcelona, after which he joined Aston Villa. Coutinho made 106 appearances for the Catalans, scoring 25 goals and assisting 14 goals. But with a fruitful loan spell at Villa, the 29-year-old has a chance to resurrect his career under former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard, who has made no secret that he wants the Brazilian to join the club permanently. Villans.
Villa are said to be optimistic that the signing will be completed, but one aspect that could cause hiccups is Coutinho’s wage demands. He earns somewhere close to £500,000 a week at Barcelona, a sum Villa may struggle to afford. Coutinho will therefore have to accept a pay cut but could be persuaded if the club offered a long contract.