Aston Villa and Barcelona have agreed on a loan deal that moves midfielder Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League until the end of the season. Coutinho, who played with Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, is expected to make an immediate impact.
“He’s a wonderful footballer,” Gerrard said. “To share a pitch with Coutinho was a great experience because he was on a level that few footballers are on. His imagination, his creation, and also some of the highlight reels are incredible. His name speaks for himself.”
In his 106 coverall appearances for Barcelona, Coutinho has scored 26 goals.
“Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park,” Villa’s official statement read. “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.”
Barcelona boss Xavi confirmed that Coutinho took a pay cut to get regular game time at Aston Villa.
In his last stint in the Premier League — during the 2017-2018 season for Liverpool — Coutinho finished with seven goals and seven assists in 14 matches.
His Premier League career thus far consists of: 152 games, 41 goals, 35 assists.
“Sixty three caps for Brazil, a serial winner, played for Barcelona, was incredible at Liverpool,” Gerrard said. “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. He’s someone I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for.”
Given the prior relationship, Coutinho has described his now manager Gerrard as a ‘personal football hero’ and as a ‘big leader.’
Aston Villa have an option to buy Coutinho for £33m in the summer.
Villa striker Wesley has joined Internacional in Brazil on loan for the rest of the season.
Villa are back in Premier League action on Saturday, 15 January, against Manchester United. Quite an exciting, potential first opponent for Coutinho’s Premier League return.