Aston Villa could land Philippe Coutinho permanently; Steven Gerrard heaps praise

Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa celebrates scoring
Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa celebrates scoring - IMAGO / PA Images

Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been exceptional for Aston Villa since joining the club on loan during the January transfer window.

The 29-year-old needed to leave Barcelona to recapture his sharpness, and he has managed to hit the ground running for the Premier League club.

Manager Steven Gerrard has now heaped praise on his former teammate because of his humble attitude and immediate impact at Villa Park.

The midfielder scored a goal and picked up an assist on his debut against Manchester United, and he followed it up with another goal and two assists in the thrilling draw against Leeds United.

The Brazilian has certainly helped Aston Villa replace the creativity and flair of Jack Grealish, and it will be interesting to see if he can continue to perform at a high level until the end of the season.

Gerrard said (via Daily Mail): “He was desperate to come back to the Premier League, and we’ve given him everything he needs to go out there and perform. For me, the good thing about Phil is he’s so humble, so level-headed, he’s so grounded that you wouldn’t think you were dealing with a world-class star if you spoke to him day-to-day. He’s just a great human being. His vision is a major strength to him as a player. He’s lovely on the eye to watch. His technical ability is high level. I don’t think I have to go on about Phil Coutinho, the player; you just have to watch and admire the class he goes about it with. For me, the key thing was to get him up to speed from a physical point of view, and we’re still working on that. He can get fitter and stronger, and he will do with more training and games. Then it was about getting him enjoying his football again, being around the boys, smiling and looking forward to playing. You can see in his performance that he feels this is his stage again.”

Meanwhile, the player is expected to leave Barcelona permanently at the end of this season. A report from Mirror claims that Villa could end up signing the midfielder for a nominal price in the summer.

Barcelona are reportedly dealing with financial problems, and they might be open to accepting a knockdown price for the 29-year-old.

Barcelona and Aston Villa agreed on a permanent fee of around £33 million last month, and it remains to be seen whether Villa can snap him up for less than that.