Aston Villa Signs Struggling Barca Star Philippe Coutinho on Loan

Philippe Coutinho in 2018
Philippe Coutinho. Photo by Bagu Blanco/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

Brazilian attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho is making a return to Premier League in an attempt to get his career back on track. Coutinho will spend the rest of the 2021-22 season playing with Aston Villa after the club signed him on a loan deal from La Liga powerhouse Barcelona on Friday.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed right away but reportedly include an option for Villa to keep Couthino on a permanent basis in the summer. Until then, Barcelona will continue to pay a significant portion of the player’s wages.

In order for the move to become official, Coutinho will have to pass his physical and get a work permit, but this is expected to be just a formality. He will join his new club by the end of the week and should be at manager Steven Gerrard’s disposal for the club’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United next Saturday.

Speaking about the move for Villa’s official website, Gerrard said that he is excited for a reunion with Coutinho and believes the 29-year-old will hugely benefit the club. The two previously shared the locker room at Liverpool between 2013 and 2015.

“I don’t think you get a nickname as a Magician if you’re not a special footballer,” said Gerrard of Coutinho. “He’s someone I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for.”

While playing at Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho established himself as one of the world’s best players and secured himself a $140 million transfer to Barcelona in January 2018. He was expected to be the next big star at Camp Nou, but it was soon clear that this wouldn’t be the case. Coutinho failed to make an impact at the Catalan club and struggled to the point that Barca was willing to pay him to play somewhere else.

Coutinho played 16 games for Barca this season and scored two goals. Overall, he has 25 goals and 14 assists in 106 games with the club.