Aston Villa Completes Permanent Signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho is making things permanent…

Aston Villa has completed the permanent signing of the 29-year-old Brazilian professional footballer from Barcelona, the two clubs announced Thursday.

Philippe CoutinhoBarcelona said they had accepted a €20 million transfer fee with Barca also inserting a sell-on clause of 50% for any future transfer.

Coutinho, who joined Aston Villa on loan in January, became Barcelona’s record signing when he joined from Liverpool for €160m in January 2018.

In a statement, Barcelona said they “would like to publicly state their thanks to Philippe Coutinho for his commitment and dedication, and wish him success and all the best for the future.”

Sources told ESPN earlier this week that Aston Villa had an option to sign Coutinho for €40m at the end of the season but were not willing to invest so much money.

Coutinho accepted a wage cut to join Villa in January due to his desire to play regular football again having fallen down the pecking order under Barca coach Xavi Hernandez.

At Villa Park under his former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, he has scored four goals and supplied three assists in 16 Premier League appearances.

“This is a brilliant signing for Aston Villa. Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January,” Gerrard said in Villa’s announcement.

“With the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, he’s also a valuable role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his experience.

“As we look to build towards next season, it is incredible to work at a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly.”

Edinson Cavani Reportedly Commits to Playing with Manchester United Through End of Season

Edinson Cavani isn’t leaving just yet…

The 34-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer has told Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick that he’ll stay at Old Trafford through the end of the season.

Edinson Cavani Cavani, who is out of contract in the summer, has been linked with a January move to Barcelona or a return to South America, but Rangnick has said Cavani has promised to stay until the end of the campaign.

“I told him that if it was up to me I would want him to stay,” Rangnick said.

“I had a conversation with him [on Thursday]. He came into my office and we spoke for almost half an hour and he told me he will definitely stay and would want to stay until the end of the season.

“Not only because I told him that he should stay or has to stay, he did it on his own behalf and he told me that I can rely on him to stay until the end of the season and give his very best and be a role model for the young players.

“If he should play from the start, he’s available and he’s happy to play.

“Even if he’s not playing, he will be trying to be the best possible role model for the other players and for me this is good news.”

United and Rangnick begin their FA Cup campaign with a home tie against Aston Villa on Monday.

The club have not won a trophy since lifting the Europa League under Jose Mourinho, and Rangnick has promised to pick a strong side against Steven Gerrard‘s Villa.

Villa have already won at Old Trafford this season — a 1-0 victory in September — and since Gerrard’s appointment have climbed to 13th in the table despite losing their last two games to Chelsea and Brentford.

A home game against Middlebrough in the fourth round awaits the winner.

“I’ve always been a big fan, supporter and admirer of the FA Cup,” Rangnick said.

“For me it’s a very important competition. We will definitely try to play with our best possible team in that game and a strong team. We take the game as seriously as we can and hopefully get one round further ahead but in order to do that we have to be successful against Aston Villa.

Aston Villa Agrees to Deal for Philippe Coutinho

It’s official…Philippe Coutinho is headed to Birmingham.

Aston Villa has agreed on a deal to sign the 29-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former Liverpool midfielder on loan from Barcelona until the end of the season, the Premier League club announced on Friday.

Philippe Coutinho

The agreement, which is subject to Coutinho completing a medical and receiving a work permit, also includes an option to buy, and Philippe will travel to Birmingham in the next 48 hours.

ESPN sources say that five Premier League sides held talks with Coutinho’s camp, with Villa and one other English club showing the most serious interest.

However, the presence of Steven Gerrard, Coutinho’s former teammate at Liverpool, helped swing the balance in Villa’s favor.

The Premier League club said in a statement: “Aston Villa and FC Barcelona have agreed terms for Philippe Coutinho to spend the rest of this season on loan at Villa Park.

“The agreement, which is subject to the player completing a medical and receiving a work permit, also includes an option to buy and Philippe will travel to Birmingham in the next 48 hours.”

Gerrard, who left Rangers to replace Dean Smith as the coach at Villa Park at the end of last year, played a key role in persuading the Brazilian to make the move to the Midlands.

Coutinho has previously been reluctant to leave Barca, but a desire to play regular football in a World Cup year has led to a change of mind.

Barca made Coutinho their most expensive signing ever when they paid Liverpool €160 million for him in 2018.

His first season at Camp Nou, playing alongside Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, ended with a domestic double, but he lost his way in his second term.

He spent the 2019-20 season on loan at German giants Bayern Munich, scoring twice as they beat Barca 8-2 on the way to winning the Champions League, before returning to Spain for the following campaign.

Ronald Koeman said he would help Coutinho rediscover his best form, but injury problems held the player back under the Dutch manager.

He missed the second half of last season with injuries and has started just once, a 1-0 loss to Real Betis, since new coach Xavi Hernandez was appointed in November.

When asked about Coutinho’s departure in a news conference on Friday, Xavi said: “It says a lot about Coutinho that he’s gone out on loan because he wants to play, and reducing his salary. He’s a great pro.

“It wasn’t working for him here and he’s looked for a solution. He wants to succeed. We will see what happens with Samu [Umtiti.] I don’t have any complaints about anyone. All the players are professional. I’m delighted with those that are playing but also those that aren’t.”

Coutinho tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but should be cleared to fly to England in the coming days and could come into contention for Villa’s Premier League game against Manchester United on January 15.

Pepe Reina Joins Aston Villa on Short-Term Loan

Pepe Reina is headed to the United Kingdom…

The 37-year-old Spanish footballer and former Liverpool goalkeeper has joined Aston Villa on a short-term deal from AC Milan.

Pepe Reina

Reina, who has also played for BarcelonaVillarrealBayern Munich and Napoliand was part of the Spain squad that won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championshipin 2008 and 2012, was mainly a back-up to Milan No. 1 Gianluigi Donnarumma during his time at the San Siro.

Reina spent eight years at Liverpool between 2005 and 2013, winning an FA Cup, a Football LeagueCup, a FA Community Shieldand a UEFA Super Cup.

He ended his Liverpool career with a yearlong loan move to Napoli before permanently joining Bayern in 2014. He lasted just one year at the Allianz Arenabefore returning to Napoli for three years.

Reina made his international debut against Uruguayin 2005 but spent much of his career with Spain as the second choice goalkeeper to Iker Casillas.

Villa were keen to sign a goalkeeper after their first choice Tom Heatonsustained a season-ending injury.