Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho targeted by Aston Villa

Aston Villa are in a five-way battle with Premier League clubs for Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho in this January transfer window.

Philippe Coutinho of FC Barcelona

The Brazilian international, 29, became Barcelona’s club-record signing in January 2018 when he joined from Liverpool but has royally struggled to live up to the lofty expectations of the Camp Nou faithful. The creative midfielder was given another chance to revive his career at the club under former boss Ronald Koeman following a loan spell with German giants Bayern Munich but has fallen down the pecking order under Xavi Hernandez.

Philippe Coutinho, who is currently out having tested positive for Covid-19, has managed only five La Liga starts so far this season. With the World Cup on the horizon, the 29-year-old is keen to join another team to secure more playing time ahead of the finals in Qatar.

Everton have also expressed an interest in signing the playmaker, whose agent Kia Joorabchian is working hard behind the scenes to find a new home for the player. Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard knows Coutinho in and out, having previously played together at Liverpool.

Aston Villa could do with a creative midfielder

Aston Villa have been on the up since the appointment of Steven Gerrard, who replaced Dean Smith in November. Gerrard has entertained the Villa faithful by making his team play a fast, attacking and energetic brand of football, and despite back-to-back league defeats, the Lions look very much in safe hands now.

There’s a lot of room for improvement in the squad, with Gerrard seeking a quality attacking midfielder in this ongoing transfer window. Aston Villa do have some really strong central midfielders but with Marvelous Nakamba ruled out for 3-4 months with a knee injury, Morgan Sanson has been asked to play a bit deeper than usual in midfield in recent weeks.

Plus, as the club’s rising star Jacob Ramsey is the only out-and-out creative midfielder, Gerrard could do well by adding some depth in that area of the pitch.

Is Philippe Coutinho the right fit at Villa Park?

Following the departure of Jack Grealish to Manchester City in the summer, the No.10 position at the Villans could do with an improvement. And Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho fits the profile, with Gerrard having first-hand knowledge of the player.

Coutinho is a lively, energetic midfielder who likes to make things happen in the final third with the ball at his feet. He is extremely composed on the ball, can pick a pass, create opportunities for his teammates and shoot from long distances. The Brazilian playmaker would add a touch of flair to Villa’s play, while his experience could go a long way in helping Gerrard’s side clinch a top-half finish this season.

The 29-year-old needs a place where he will enjoy his football again and Villa Park looks to be an ideal destination. That being said, Gerrard must try his best to sign Coutinho on loan from Barcelona for the rest of the season.

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