Amid ongoing speculation over a possible move to Aston Villa, Philippe Coutinho would be a marquee signing that could have a major impact for us this season.
As per COPE’s Helena Condis Edo, negotiations are said to be taking place between Villa and Barcelona along with his representatives over a loan deal until the end of the season.
👉 Coutinho: El Barça está negociando con el Aston Villa la CESIÓN de @Phil_Coutinho. Fuentes de la negociación me cuentan que trabajan en el acuerdo para que se vaya a préstamo hasta final de temporada allí. Ctado en @deportescope @tjcope @partidazocope
— Helena Condis Edo (@HelenaCondis) January 5, 2022
While there is no agreement as of yet, it appears as though talks are being held as per reports, and so it remains to be seen if the respective parties can reach an agreement to ensure a deal goes through.
Admittedly, there are question marks and concerns with the swoop given Coutinho’s struggles with injuries in recent years, but ultimately, if a deal can be done, it would be an important piece of business for Villa.
Short-term solution with big upside and long-term possibilities
As Trezeguet and Bertrand Traore are now away on international duty at the AFCON, with the tournament itself ending on February 6 and a possible recovery period needed thereafter depending on far they go, Villa will be short in that department.
Anwar El Ghazi has struggled for playing time and may well be keen on a more prominent role elsewhere, while there is an argument that Carney Chukwuemeka and Jaden Philogene-Bidace would benefit from a loan spell to gain invaluable experience and develop and improve their respective games.
Assuming those exits materialise, and furthermore, there are doubts over Trezeguet and Traore for the same reasons too in the longer term, that does leave Villa short in the wide areas and in behind the main striker, with Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey the only stand-out options in that department.
If Villa and boss Steven Gerrard want quality over quantity, then this potential reshuffling of the pack would follow that strategy.
Coutinho has had problems with injuries and regular playing time in recent years, but as he showed at Liverpool and at times for Barcelona as well as during his loan spell with Bayern Munich, the Brazilian international still has the quality to be the difference.
At 29 years of age, he has one important stretch of his playing career remaining at the peak of his powers, and with a place in the Brazil squad for the World Cup later this year at stake too, a leading role for Villa in the second half of this season could make it the ideal landing spot for him to rediscover his form to showcase his class once again.
If that is all it is to be, then so be it. Not only would he add quality to the side and help us compete and take a step up this season, but the opportunity for the likes of Jacob Ramsey to train alongside him day in and day out will no doubt reap rewards in the long-term future too.
Perhaps it could end up being a longer stint if it works out for both parties. For now though, time will tell if Villa are able to complete a swoop, but bringing Coutinho to the club would undoubtedly be a real statement of intent not only about our pull in the transfer market but also about our ambition and financial muscle moving forward.
He’s a player Gerrard knows well, and as Villa look to evolve and take that next step to try and compete for European places, this is the calibre of player that we hope to attract to help us move in the right direction and our ability to complete such a deal will perhaps be a marker of what follows if we get the desired results on the pitch to match it.