Philippe Coutinho’s first words as an Aston Villa player after Barcelona move



Philippe Coutinho has revealed that he was ‘very clear’ about his next move after Barcelona following discussions with Steven Gerrard over a possible transfer to Aston Villa.

The Brazil international has completed a loan switch to Villa Park until the end of the season, which could be made permanent for a reported £33million fee.

Coutinho arrived in England this afternoon and will meet his new team-mates for the first time on Wednesday morning at Bodymoor Heath.

Speaking about his arrival, Coutinho told VillaTV: “It’s a pleasure to be here; it’s a great club.

“I spoke a lot with the manager, with Stevie, and he told me about the club and his ambitions. I’m very happy to be here and I’m looking to enjoy my football.”

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He added: “I’ve known Stevie for a long time. I played with him and I learned a lot from him.

“He’s someone who I have big admiration for. I hope to do my best here. For sure, I will work hard, and I hope together we can do good work.

“He told me about the club, the ambitions of the club, they want to achieve big things and his ambitions also.

“When I spoke with him after the meeting it was clear for me that I wanted to be here and it was quick, I am very happy to be here.”

The playmaker was of interest to several Premier League clubs this month, while other teams in Europe were linked as Barcelona looked to offload one of their highest earners this January.

The former Liverpool ace became the second most expensive footballer in history when he joined Barcelona in 2019 for a £142million fee, but he struggled to live up to expectations in Spain.

Coutinho is hoping to find his feet at his new club in no time and reward supporters with strong performances during the remainder of the season.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the fans, to being on the pitch. I know and I feel that they’re happy that I’m here,” he said.

“I want to repay that on the pitch and enjoy my football. I’m looking forward to being on the pitch.

“I always want to be at my best, doing my work. That’s what I work hard for every day.

“I hope it will be a great rest of the season here.”

Coutinho will wear number 23 at Villa, which gives no indication as to what position Gerrard will ask him to play in.

“I am here to help the team, I played as a number 10, wider also,” Villa’s new signing added.

“But for sure, I play better in number 10 position. It’s a position where I like the freedom but, as I say, the manager will say.

“I have personal objectives which I keep personal, I will work hard for them and to give my best on the pitch.

“I hope to also achieve my personal objectives, yes.”

Aston Villa loanee Philippe Coutinho
Aston Villa loanee Philippe Coutinho

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich maestro didn’t take long to be convinced that Villa was the right move for him to reboot his career, and he reached out to two of his former team-mates for advice before making the switch to B6.

“I know only two, Douglas and Ings,” Coutinho said.

“I spoke with them before so I am really looking forward to tomorrow to meet my team-mates.

“They spoke a lot about the club, that it is a great club, a great city, a great place to be.

He has recently been self-isolating with Covid-19, but claims he ‘feels good’ ahead of Villa’s home clash against Manchester United on Saturday.

“I am feeling good, I was training at home of course every day,” Coutinho added.

“I spoke with the fitness coach here also, I think I am good but for sure tomorrow I will meet the staff and I will see what the plan is for training but I am feeling very good.”

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