Aston Villa pursue loan move for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho

Aston Villa want to sign Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona and have contacted the player’s agent with a view to negotiating a deal.

Coutinho is ready to leave the Camp Nou and Villa are understood to be one of three Premier League suitors. The 29-year-old joined Barcelona from Liverpool for an initial £106m in January 2018 but the move has not worked out and he spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Coutinho, who can operate as a wide player or attacking midfielder, has started only five games this season, the most recent of those a month ago. He tested positive for Covid last week but was said by Barcelona to be in good health.

The Brazil international had five successful years in the Premier League with Liverpool, and Villa believe they could get him to spark again. Barcelona have made attempts to sell him since summer 2019 without finding a buyer.

Steven Gerrard, a teammate of Coutinho while the pair were at Anfield, is expected to be backed in his first transfer window in charge of Villa. A defensive midfielder and reinforcements at full-back are among his targets.

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