Aston Villa have sealed a deal to sign Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona for the rest of the season with an option to buy.
The final details were settled on Friday for a transfer under which Villa will pay the bulk of the Brazilian’s salary.
The move reunites Coutinho with Steven Gerrard, a former Liverpool teammate who is Villa’s head coach. The pair played together from 2013-15 and on Thursday Gerrard described the 29-year-old as a “special footballer”.
Gerrard said: “He’s won two league titles at Barcelona, two Copa del Reys. If you go and have a look at his Wiki page you’ll see a serial winner wherever he goes. He’s won 63 caps for Brazil, played for Barcelona and was incredible at Liverpool.
“So I can understand why he’s linked to a lot of football clubs. I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him. I don’t think you get a nickname of ‘The Magician’ if you’re not a special footballer.”
Coutinho’s time at Barcelona since a move from Liverpool for an initial £106m has in fact not been a success and he spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich. Barcelona have made attempts to sell him since summer 2019 without finding a buyer.
Gerrard’s presence at Villa was a key factor for Coutinho, who had other suitors. Villa said in a statement: “Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park.