Philippe Coutinho completes permanent move to Aston Villa from Barcelona
Aston Villa on Thursday signed Philippe Coutinho on a permanent deal
Villa reportedly paid Barcelona €20 million for the Brazilian's signature
Coutinho has been playing for Villa on loan since January 2022
The 29-year-old, who joined Villa on loan in January, has penned a long-term contract with the Birmingham club that will see him stay till 2026.
Coutinho had joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 for an astronomical transfer fee of €160 million ($192 million). However, Coutinho never really settled at the Catalan club, and was eventually loaned out to Bayern Munich, with whom the Brazilian went on to win the Champions League after knocking out Barcelona.
Hampered by massive debt, Barcelona is facing a cash-strapped rebuild under Xavi Hernandez after failing to win a title this season. Coutinho's transfer could be followed by the sale of other players, with the club looking for ways to continue to reduce the payroll while renewing its squad.
Since joining Villa, Coutinho has scored four goals and has three assists, though his form has dipped in recent games after an explosive start to his loan spell.
“Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January," said Villa manager Gerrard, who shared the pitch with Coutinho during his time as a player for Liverpool.
“With the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, he’s also a valuable role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his experience," the 41-year-old added.
Coutinho's signature comes as a boost for Aston Villa, who, having secured their continuation in the Premier League next season, are playing for pride to maintain their mid-table position.
That being said, the Brazilian could yet play a decisive part in the Premier League title race when Villa face defending champions Manchester City in the final game of the season.