Steven Gerrard is said to be ‘key factor’ in Philippe Coutinho’s decision to join Aston Villa with the midfielder set to sign for the club on a six-month loan deal.
Villa have agreed a deal to sign the Brazil international on loan from Barcelona, beating off competition from a host of Premier League sides to secure the signing of the former Liverpool star.
Barcelona have been keen to offload the 29-year-old as the Catalans look to reduce their wage bill, with Coutinho having largely disappointed since arriving in Spain as the club’s £142m record signing in January 2018.
Reports on Wednesday said that up to six Premier League sides were interested in Coutinho’s services, though a move to Villa Park will see him reunite with former Liverpool teammate Gerrard and The Athletic are reporting that the presence of Gerrard as manager at Villa Park was a ‘key factor’ in getting the deal done.
Philippe Coutinho’s set to join Aston Villa on loan from Barcelona, done deal and here-we-go! Agreement completed after direct contact today morning 🇧🇷🤝 #AVFC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 7, 2022
Gerrard spoke on rumoured interest in Coutinho on Thursday and praised the Brazilian’s talent, describing the midfielder as a ‘special footballer’ and admitting his ex-teammate was someone he has ‘an incredible amount of respect for’.
Villa are set to pay the large majority of Coutinho’s wages as part of the agreement and he will add genuine quality to the club’s creative ranks.
Coutinho established himself as one of the best players in the Premier League across five seasons with Liverpool, scoring 54 goals and providing 45 assists across 201 appearances in all competitions.
He has won two La Liga titles, the Bundesliga and Champions League since leaving Anfield, having formed part of Bayern Munich’s treble-winning team during a loan spell in Germany in 2019/20.