Aston Villa in ‘direct contact’ over loan move for Coutinho

Joe Williams
Philippe Coutinho running during a warm-up drill

Premier League side Aston Villa are the latest club to enter the race to sign Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.

Coutinho left Liverpool in 2018 after Barcelona agreed a £105m deal rising to £140m with potential add-ons to take the Brazilian to the Camp Nou.

It has turned out to be a pretty disastrous move for both Barcelona and Coutinho with Liverpool going on to win the Premier League and Champions League since his departure.

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In just over three seasons, Coutinho has managed 26 goals in 106 appearances for the Catalan giants with Barcelona even allowing him to leave for Bayern Munich on a season-long loan deal in 2019.

There have been many rumours that Coutinho could eventually make a return to Liverpool with Barca looking to cash in on the playmaker.

However, it looks more likely he will move to a Premier League club lower down the table with Newcastle, Arsenal and Spurs all linked.

And the latest speculation from transfer expert Fabrizio Romano is that Aston Villa ‘are in direct contact’ with Coutinho’s agent as they ‘negotiate’ a potential loan move.

Romano insists that it’s ‘not a done deal/agreed yet’ but that Coutinho has been ‘discussed with three Premier League clubs’ with the Brazilian ‘open’ to a move away from Barcelona.

Despite his uncertain future, Barcelona’s new boss Xavi said in November that Coutinho – who played with Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard at Liverpool – will have an “important” role to play in the team if he impresses the 41-year-old enough to play regularly.

“Coutinho is someone who can play in various positions and he can be important for the team,” Xavi said.

“He needs to re-find himself and recover his confidence. If he does, he will help us a lot. He has an innate talent.

He added: “It depends on him. He will get chances because he’s a player I like personally. It’s more psychological than anything because he has talent.”