London, Jan 7 (IANS) Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed on terms for Brazil international Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park, the Premier League club announced on Friday.
“Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed on terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park,” Villa said in a statement.
“The agreement, which is subject to the player completing a medical and receiving a work permit, also includes an option to buy and Philippe will travel to Birmingham in the next 48 hours.”
The 29-year-old Brazil international moved to the Nou Camp from Liverpool in 2018, but struggled to establish himself and spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Bayern Munich. He won the Champions League with the German club, who beat Barcelona in the quarter-finals of that season’s competition. The attacking midfielder will link up in Birmingham with Villa boss Steven Gerrard, with whom he played at Liverpool.
Aston Villa coach Gerrard and Coutinho formed a great relationship during two years playing together at Liverpool, where Gerrard saw the 29-year-old’s qualities firsthand.
Ahead of confirmation of the move, the Villa head coach was asked about Coutinho at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, and his admiration for the player was clear.
“Sixty-three caps for Brazil, a serial winner, played for Barcelona, was incredible at Liverpool. 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 as a Magician if you’re not a special footballer. He’s someone I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for,” said the coach.
“He won two league titles for Barcelona, he won two Copa del Reys. If you go and have a look at his Wiki page, you’ll see a serial winner wherever he’s been,” he said. “I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the player. He’s a friend of mine.”
Barcelona said in a statement that Coutinho, who made 106 appearances for the club, was expected to travel to Birmingham in the next few hours.