Premier League transfer round-up: Everton make early signing as window re-opens
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Philippe Coutinho’s stance on joining Aston Villa in the January transfer window has emerged as six clubs are reportedly lining up a move for the Barcelona outcast. The Brazilian is likely to depart the Nou Camp this season and Steven Gerrard’s Villa have been linked.
Coutinho played alongside Gerrard at Liverpool for two years and went on to become an iconic figure at Anfield.
However, the attacking midfielder completed a controversial move to Barca in January 2018 with the club’s agreeing a stunning £146million deal.
Three years on, Coutinho’s reputation as one of the world’s best creators has subsided. The 29-year-old is considered surplus to requirements at the LaLiga club.
Barca are keen to rid his huge wage from their bill as they seek to reduce their well-publicised debts.
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It would also go some way to allowing the Catalan outfit to register former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, who has completed a £50m transfer.
Coutinho is not short of suitors. As many as six clubs have been linked in recent days, with Villa, Liverpool, Arsenal and Brazilian side Flamengo among the most high profile.
His stance on a surprise move to Villa Park has now emerged. A source has told Sky Sports that Coutinho would be “more than happy” to link up with Gerrard and sees Villa as an ‘ambitious’ club.
The Midlands outfit spent over £100m in the summer after receiving a fee in the same region from the sale of Jack Grealish to Man City.
They suffered a disappointing start to the campaign under Dean Smith, but they have excelled under new boss Gerrard. The former Liverpool midfielder replaced Smith in November.
“Sixty-three caps for Brazil, a serial winner, was incredible at Liverpool, so I can understand why he’s linked to a lot of football clubs,” the 41-year-old said of Coutinho ahead of Villa’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United.
“I can understand why a lot of supporters up and down the country are speaking about him.
“I don’t think you get a nickname like ‘magician’ if you’re not a special footballer, so he’s someone I have an incredible amount of respect for.
“But I don’t want to add to any speculation, because he belongs to Barcelona.”
Gerrard later added: “He won two league titles and two Copa del Reys with Barcelona.
“I think if you go and have a look at his Wikipedia page I think you’ll see a serial winner wherever he’s been.
“I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the player, he’s a friend of mine, so if I’m asked the questions I can speak for as long as you want.”
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