Loans

Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho agrees deal to join Aston Villa on loan until end of season

Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho agrees deal to join Aston Villa on loan until end of season
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Aston Villa announced today, Friday, its agreement with former Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona until the end of the current season.

Sources told ESPN that five Premier League teams have held talks with Coutinho’s camp, with Villa and another English club showing the most interest.

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However, the presence of Steven Gerrard, Coutinho’s ex-Liverpool teammate, helped tip the scales in favor of Villa.

The Premier League club said in a statement: “Aston Villa and Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the remainder of this season on loan at Villa Park.

“The agreement, which is subject to the player completing a medical clearance and obtaining a work permit, also includes an option to purchase and Philip will travel to Birmingham within the next 48 hours.”

Gerrard, who left Rangers to replace Dean Smith as coach of Villa Park at the end of last year, played a key role in persuading the Brazilian to move to the Midlands.

Coutinho, 29, had previously been reluctant to leave Barcelona, ​​but the desire to play football regularly at the World Cup changed his mind.

Barcelona made Coutinho his most expensive deal ever when he paid Liverpool 160 million euros in 2018.

His first season at Camp Nou, with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, ended with the domestic double but he lost his way in his second term.

He spent the 2019-20 season on loan with the German giant Bayern Munich, and scored two goals to lead Barcelona 8-2 on his way to winning the Champions League, before returning to Spain for the next season.

Ronald Koeman said he would help Coutinho rediscover his best form, but injury problems hampered the player under the Dutch coach.

He missed the second half of last season due to injuries and started only once, losing 1-0 to Real Betis, since new coach Xavi Hernandez was appointed in November.

Coutinho tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but he should be allowed to travel to England in the coming days and could be in contention for Villa’s Premier League match against Manchester United on January 15.

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