Barcelona: Philippe Coutinho joins Aston Villa on loan

Barcelona (Photo by Miquel Benitez/Getty Images)
Barcelona (Photo by Miquel Benitez/Getty Images) /

Philippe Coutinho’s switch from Liverpool to Barcelona was considered to be a big signing for the Catalans after the club had lost their talismanic figure, Neymar to PSG when his £200 million release clause was activated by the French club in 2017.

A club-record £142 million was splashed out for Coutinho in January 2018, big things were expected from the Brazilian playmaker but he struggled to hold down a first-team place at the Camp Nou and even spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Bayern Munich where he ended up winning the treble.

Aston Villa have reached an agreement for a loan move for the attacking midfielder until the end of the season. The English club will pay part of the player’s wages which is still pretty decent considering that Barca are looking to improve the financial situation of the club after the mess caused by the Josep Bartomeu era.

The Birmingham-based club also have an option to buy Coutinho for €40 million at the end of the season, which would prove to be a huge loss for the Catalan club but at this point in time, Joan Laporta’s side would happily accept that kind of sum.

Was Philippe Coutinho a flop at Barcelona?

Stating that Coutinho’s ill-fated transfer from Liverpool to Barca never really worked out is a massive understatement.

However, to be fair to the midfield maestro he was often deployed as a left-winger or as a left-sided central midfielder during his days with the Blaugrana. Coutinho is a player who is more suited in a central attacking midfield position in a 4-2-3-1 formation which is evident through his successful time at Anfield and Bavaria where he was used as a number 10. Barca have stuck religiously to the 4-3-3 formation for more than a decade and under Ernesto Valverde shifted to a 4-4-2, neither of which had a position for Coutinho to thrive in.

The 29-year-old attacking midfielder will leave the Catalans having played 106 matches in which he started 70 of those games. He has found the net on 26 occasions and has further provided 13 assists during his tenure. (stats via FBref)

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Will Aston Villa buy Philippe Coutinho after his loan expires?