Inside the deal: How Steven Gerrard pulled off remarkable Philippe Coutinho signing for Aston Villa


It is highly unlikely, but Coutinho’s arrival will only add to the mood of optimism and could prove a game-changer on so many levels.

He will unquestionably make them better, lighting a fire under the other attackers, and prove to other January transfer targets that Villa mean serious business.

Villa made their move earlier this week, initiating talks with Barcelona, and sold Coutinho the club’s vision, and how Gerrard wanted him to fit into his team.

Negotiations have been straightforward but a deal would never have materialised if this was simply about money – this had to be about desire and commitment, and Coutinho proving he was up for the challenge.

The 29-year-old will fly into England this weekend for a medical and while the FA Cup tie against Manchester United on Monday night could be too soon, they face United in the Premier League the following weekend.

This is a sweet moment for Gerrard, who has frequently outlined his hopes for the future and designs on guiding Villa back into European competition.

He was only appointed as head coach in November, but his presence was key to this deal and proves how his reputation is already sky-high.

In his book, Gerrard revealed his admiration for Coutinho, who was a team-mate at Liverpool for two-and-a-half years.

“Liverpool should really treasure Philippe. I believe he is on his way to becoming Liverpool’s main man and a top player in world football.

“Watch this space…”

When asked about Gerrard’s comments in 2015, Coutinho replied: “It’s just such an honour to be spoken about by Steven Gerrard in such a way.

“He is an icon, one of my personal football heroes.”


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