Following a three-year absence from the Premier League, Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho has returned to the top division, joining Aston Villa from Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona.
The 29 year-old will be at the Midlands outfit on loan until the end of the season. The deal, which is subject to a medical and a work permit being granted, will include an option to buy the Brazilian for £33 million pounds at the end of the current campaign.
Coutinho will now reunite with former player and now Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, who was his captain while at Liverpool and with whom they nearly won the Premier League title in 2014 – falling short to Manchester City.
Coutinho had joined Barcelona in a mega money deal worth around £142 million pounds plus bonuses from Liverpool in January 2018, but the Brazil international has struggled to make any meaningful impact at Catalonia – with Barca now willing to cut their losses.
Barcelona, who are in a financial mess at the moment, were keen to reduce their overblown wage bill and made the decision to ship out Coutinho – who attracted interest from Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspurs.
During his time at the Nou Camp, Coutinho scored 26 goals in 106 appearances, though his current deal still has 18 months to run until the end of the 2022/2023 season.
The issue and concern for many is whether Coutinho still has what it takes to make it big once more in the Premier League. His first spell was successful, scoring 41 goals in 152 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, whom he had teamed up with in an £8.5 million pounds move from Italian Serie A giants Inter Milan in January 2013.
At Villa, Couthino is expected to thrive in his natural role and be a valuable asset under Steven Gerrard as they attempt to end the season strongly. We can only hope that now that he’s reunited with his old captain, he takes use of his opportunities to re-ignite his wonderful career.