Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa may be about to pull off a January transfer shock by signing Philippe Coutinho – a man regularly linked with a move to Arsenal.
Coutinho, 29, has struggled enormously for the Catalan giants since joining the now cash-strapped side from Liverpool for £142million in January 2018.
He spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich and has started only five games this season, the most recent of which was a month ago.
It is then perhaps no wonder he is looking to return to a league where he established his ‘world-class’ status in, and a former teammate of his could play a key role in his exit from the Spanish top flight.
Our sister outlet Birmingham Live claim Villa have been tipped to make a move for Coutinho with reports in the Brazilian’s homeland stating that he is of interest to former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard. Goal also say Gerrard’s side and Merseyside duo Liverpool and Everton are ‘eyeing’ the player.
On top of this, Fabrizio Romano has further added fuel onto the fire in regards to the 29-year-old’s potential move to the West Midlands this month with his latest tweet on the situation, which read; ‘Aston Villa are in direct contact with Philippe Coutinho agent to negotiate potential loan move, as first reported by Tiempo de Juego.
‘It’s not a done deal/agreed yet. Coutinho has been discussed with 3 Premier League clubs. He’s open and prepared to leave Barça.’
Arsenal and Edu have regularly been linked in previous transfer windows with a move to bring Coutinho back to the Premier League. And if transfermarkt‘s value of £17m is what it would take, perhaps Edu and Mikel Arteta may take a closer look.
But, would Coutinho get enough game time in this current Gunners squad, especially considering the improving form of Martin Odegaard in recent weeks?
Well, Gerrard believes that the Brazilian international is still ‘world-class’ and despite remaining coy on the rumours, his verdict on the Brazilian show the Gunners may well be making a mistake on passing up on the player.
Gerrard said: “He is a wonderful footballer. To share a dressing room and a pitch with Coutinho was an absolute pleasure. He’s a friend of mine.
“He was on a level that very few footballers are on with his imagination and creativity. His highlight reels are there for all to see.
“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.
“I don’t think you get a nickname of ‘The Magician’ if you’re not a special footballer.
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“I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him. He is also linked to five, six other clubs in this league and I am sure there would be a long list of foreign clubs that are linked with Philippe’s services as well.
“You are talking about a world-class individual and player.
“He is someone I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for, but I don’t want to add to any speculation because he belongs to Barcelona.
“I do appreciate his name is out there and he is linked to Aston Villa. I appreciate and respect the speculation but I can’t give anything further than that. That is not fair or respectful and I wouldn’t like that disrespect coming this way in terms of Aston Villa.”