Aston Villa transfer news: Steven Gerrard now faces £33m Philippe Coutinho dilemma

Philippe Coutinho FC Barcelona

The Athletic’s Aston Villa correspondent Gregg Evans has revealed that the club hold the option to sign Philippe Coutinho for a fee worth around €40m (£33.3m) in the summer.

The club announced that they had struck an agreement with Barcelona to sign Coutinho on loan for the remainder of the season on Friday and also confirmed they had an option to purchase him at the end of his stay in the Midlands.

What’s the latest with Villa?

The club announced one of the most eye-catching deals of the January transfer window just a week in as they confirmed the ex-Liverpool star would be returning to England to link up with his former Anfield captain.

Steven Gerrard has since claimed that his old team-mate is a “special” player who is likely to improve the squad at Villa Park.

The club are, of course, attempting to break into the top 10, with Villa currently 13th in the Premier League table, three points behind 10th-placed Leicester City.

Under Gerrard’s management, they have played eight times, beating Brighton, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Norwich City, while losing to Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and, most recently, Brentford.

Coutinho’s signing could be one that boosts the club’s chances of climbing the league table, though.

The Brazil international has had a storied career, winning a variety of trophies, including the Champions League, the Bundesliga and La Liga, with Bayern Munich and Barca respectively.

Villa announced that they had struck a deal for Coutinho on Friday and Evans has now revealed that the purchase option to buy him stands at around £33.3m in the summer.

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What did Evans say?

Speaking to GiveMeSport, he revealed: “There’s a purchase option at the end of the deal. We don’t know the exact fee, I’m led to believe it’s around €40m.”

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Is that a dilemma for Gerrard?

Yes.

It could be looked at in any number of ways, really, but it seems to boil down to two separate points: Either that’s a small price to pay for a genuine game-changer, who could inspire his team-mates at every turn, or it’s a hefty fee for a player whose best years are starting to fade away.

It is down to Coutinho to prove his worth, of course, and the burden of proof absolutely lies with the Brazilian.

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But we do know that Villa have that sort of money – they spent just over £34m on Emiliano Buendia in the summer, from Norwich City – and they could well be willing to spend similar on Coutinho.

Gerrard will have a decision to make this summer, but it’s a dilemma many managers would love to have.

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