Philippe Coutinho joined Aston Villa on loan from Barcelona until the end of the season.
The deal, which is conditional on the completion of the medical examinations and the receipt of the player’s work permit, also includes an option to purchase and Coutinho will travel to Birmingham in the next 48 hours.
Coutinho wanted to return to England and play regular football and sees Villa as an ambitious club building something special for the future.
The Brazilian midfielder is well acquainted with manager Steven Gerrard, who spent two and a half years with him at Liverpool, and is said to already know a lot about the Villa and his team.
A source said Sky Sports News there was also a chance that Coutinho could return to Liverpool this month and would be happy to return to Anfield.
However, it is understood that Liverpool were not pursuing a move for the 29-year-old during the transfer window in January.
Coutinho was signed by Barcelona from Liverpool for a record £ 146m in January 2018 but struggled to keep a first team spot at Nou Camp and spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.
Gerrard: Coutinho a serial winner
Speaking Thursday before Coutinho’s signing, manager Steven Gerrard said:
“Sixty-three appearances for Serie A winner Brazil have been incredible at Liverpool, so I can see why he’s linked to a lot of football clubs,” said Gerrard.
“I can understand why a lot of fans up and down the country are talking about him. I don’t think you have a magician nickname unless you are a special footballer, so he is someone I have incredible respect for.
“But I don’t want to add speculation, because it belongs to Barcelona”.
Analysis: Coutinho could fill the Grealish void
Jack Grealish once commented that Philippe Coutinho was one of his favorite players to watch on YouTube. “He always has that, you know, where he goes left and falls like a little shimmy, which is what I like to do on my own.” Now the journey has reached its starting point.
While Grealish has perfected his craft enough to earn a £ 100 million transfer to Manchester City, Coutinho returns to the Premier League to replace him at Aston Villa. If the Brazilian manages to repeat the form that brought him from Liverpool to Barcelona, he will be an ideal purchase.
There are similarities between the two players. Grealish praised Coutinho’s ability to “pass the players as if they weren’t there” and this is what Villa loved so much about their former captain. He missed having that player who can make things happen this season.
Is the Coutinho idolized by Grealish still there? At 29, there’s time to regain his best form under old teammate Steven Gerrard, but his career has drifted to Barcelona. If, like Grealish, Coutinho is inspired by being the main man at Villa Park, there is fun.
Follow the January market with Sky Sport
Who will leave in January?
The January market opens Saturday 1 January 2022 and closes at 11pm onwards Monday 31 January.
Keep up to date with all the latest news and market rumors in our dedicated Transfer Center blog at Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the details, details and analysis on Sky Sports News.