Coutinho ‘looking for houses in Birmingham’ as Aston Villa transfer nears

Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho has reportedly begun looking for houses in the Birmingham area as he nears a move to Aston Villa.

The Nou Camp outcast has made just five starts in all competitions this season, despite Barca's disappointing form, with both Ronald Koeman and Xavi preferring the Brazilian as an option off the bench.

Reports this week suggest that Coutinho, who is under contract at Barcelona until the summer of 2023, is close to a a reunion with his former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard at Villa Park.

And Spanish outlet La Porteria claim that they 29-year-old has begun house hunting in the West Midlands, strongly indicating Coutinho is heading back to the Premier League.

The Brazil international midfielder had endured a nightmare four seasons in Spain since breaking the hearts of the Anfield faithful by forcing a £142million move to Barcelona.

Despite scoring 17 goals across just 76 league appearances from a possible 152, the 29-year-old has picked up two league and two cup winners medals amid a lack of consistent form.

Gerrard could now offer a lifeline to the former Inter Milan playmaker in the form of a short-term deal at Villa Park as the club look to push for unlikely European qualification.

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Despite a window of opportunity appearing after Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, the World Cup-winning midfielder admitted this week that Coutinho was free to leave.

Xavi said: "We have not spoken.

"He is a good professional. For there to be inputs, there must be outputs. It seems that Alves will be enrolled today. For Ferran Torres we need departures or for Ousmane Dembele to renew."

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Spain forward Torres arrived from Manchester City at the beginning of the month for £55m, but is yet to be officially as a Barcelona player due to the club's depleting financial situation.

Meanwhile, Dembele is yet to agree a new contract at the Nou Camp, and could technically leave for free on a pre-contract this month, but is believed to be in talks over a new deal if a solution can be found.

  • Steven Gerrard
  • Premier League
  • Barcelona FC
  • Aston Villa FC
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