Aston Villa already 'in driving seat' for deal involving 65-cap star

Carlton Palmer is confident that Aston Villa will sign Philippe Coutinho on a permanent basis this summer.

The 65-cap Brazil international has been in excellent form since joining from Barcelona on loan in January.

How has Coutinho performed at Aston Villa?

While Coutinho, who was once valued at £135m when he made the move from Liverpool to the Nou Camp in 2018, remains an extremely talented player, not even the most optimistic Villa supporter would have envisaged him making the type of impact that he has done.

Injuries restricted the attacking midfielder to just 14 appearances for the La Liga giants last term, while he arrived at Villa in January having started just five league matches all season.

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But since pulling on the claret and blue, Coutinho has rediscovered some of his best form, chipping in with seven goal involvements in just 778 minutes of top-flight football, three of which came in the 3-3 draw with Leeds last month.

Despite the 1-0 defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, Coutinho’s form has helped Villa move up to ninth in the Premier League table.

Therefore, Palmer reckons that his impact during his short time at the club could see Steven Gerrard’s side land him permanently.

What did Palmer say about Coutinho?

He told GIVEMESPORT: “I think they are in the driving seat. I think he’s enjoying his football and he’s playing with a smile on his face and that’s because of Steven Gerrard.

“He went there because of Steven Gerrard, Gerrard knows him, he knows what he needs and knows the players he needs around him to play his football, and I would be very surprised if Coutinho doesn’t make that move permanent at the end of the season.”

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Who else is interested in Coutinho?

According to Sport, Arsenal, who’ve been heavily linked with the playmaker in the past, are ready to launch a summer move to try and bring Coutinho to the Emirates, although given the form of Martin Odegaard, he would be far from guaranteed regular game-time under Mikel Arteta.

Meanwhile, West Ham are also hoping to bolster their squad ahead of potentially another season of European football, and are therefore in the race to sign the 29-year-old. According to reports in Spain, Coutinho is attracting interest from the Hammers.

However, with Coutinho playing some of the best football he has done in recent years, Villa are in pole position for his permanent signature, even though they face stiff competition.

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