Coutinho nearing Premier League return
Barcelona and Seleção star midfielder Philippe Coutinho has edged closer to a Premier League return after Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa has made headway in a bid to acquire his services.
Coutinho is one of a handful of big names in Catalunya that have been deemed surplus to requirements to the new Xavi regime at the Camp Nou and has been linked in a number of moves that would get him off the books at Barça.
💥 La operación va por muy buen camino y significaría el adiós definitivo del brasileño al Barçahttps://t.co/zFfgDJlNXF
— Diario SPORT (@sport) January 6, 2022
According to Spanish outlet Sport, Villa is ‘very close’ to sealing a loan move for the former Liverpool standout that would last 18-months until the end of the 2022-23 season.
Sport also reports that Gerrard has convinced Coutinho of his impending role in the first-team set up at Villa Park after the Reds legend believes he could be a decisive factor in their plans moving forward.
From Barcelona’s perspective, an 18-month loan would be the ideal scenario which would lead to Coutinho’s deal coming off the books in Spain once the loan move was completed next season which would see his wages amortized while allowing the club to register new signing Ferran Torres as quickly as possible.
How the Brazilian star could line up in Gerrard’s Villa XI
A tactically versatile player capable of finding the back of the net while also being a key creative outlet, Philippe Coutinho could certainly add a fair degree of quality in the final third under a manager in Steven Gerrard who championships a brand of high-octane attacking football that made him such a smashing success while at Glasgow Rangers.
With the current situation at Villa in mind while looking back to his brightest spells while at Liverpool, it is conceivable to suggest that Coutinho could be deployed as the mobile 10 in Gerrard’s 4-2-3-1/4-3-3.
This could free summer signing Emi Buendía to be shifted to his preferred right side birth in the forward line while the impending return of Leon Bailey would signal the Jamaican international to be utilized on the opposite flank.
The depth at center-forward provided by both Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings would mean that Gerrard could continue to rely on either center-forward not just for their ability to find goals in the area, but also to link play with a highly-mobile attacking three just behind them.
An 18-month loan move for Coutinho would be a transfer coup for Villa that could certainly push the club forward under a manager who has already made a difference since his arrival this season.