• Transfers

Philippe Coutinho seals Premier League return from Barcelona

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The Barcelona playmaker has reunited with former Liverpool teammate Gerrard at Aston Villa.

Aston Villa and Barcelona have confirmed a loan agreement for Philippe Coutinho to join the Premier League side.

The Brazil international will spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park, subject to a medical and a work permit. The Villans have an option to buy him outright for around €40 million in the summer.

Villa and Barcelona reached an agreement for the loan deal on Friday, one which will see the English club cover around 65% of Coutinho’s salary with taxes included. The midfielder will travel to England in the next 48 hours.

Gerrard a key factor

Steven Gerrard, who became Aston Villa manager in November, was reportedly a key factor behind Coutinho’s arrival.

The pair played alongside each other at Liverpool from 2013 to 2015 and Gerrard, speaking in a press conference on Thursday, described his former teammate as a ‘special footballer’.

“He’s won 63 caps for Brazil, played for Barcelona and was incredible at Liverpool,” said Gerrard.

“I don’t think you get a nickname of ‘The Magician’ if you’re not a special footballer. I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him.”

With Villa traveling to Manchester United this coming Monday, Coutinho may not be available to make his debut for the club until next weekend at home to the Red Devils.

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