Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has confirmed that they are interested in signing on-loan Barcelona midfielder Philippe Coutinho permanently.

Philippe Coutinho joined Aston Villa on a six-month loan deal from Barcelona in the January transfer window and hit the ground running immediately. He scored in his first game back in the Premier League, helping Villa draw 2-2 from two goals down against Manchester United.

Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard has been left impressed by his former Liverpool teammate and wants to sign him on a permanent basis in the summer. He also expressed a desire to build his team around players like Coutinho.

“Phil was successful at Barcelona but he had difficult periods as well,” Gerrard said of the 29-year-old midfielder, as quoted by Goal. “He got to the stage where he needed a change of scenery and a different movie. We want to be that movie for him because if we want to get to where we want to be, we need to build it around talents like Phil, because at his best he is a high-level player.”

“All good teams have game-changers who the opposition are really concerned about before a ball is kicked. Phil has that status and he is giving belief to his teammates. Our strikers Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings want him alongside them because he delivers on the big stage. I don’t control transfer fees or wages.”

“All I can do is give my opinion to (sporting director) Johan Lange, (chief executive) Christian Purslow and the owners. They are watching the games and they will make the final decision. Phil has shown what he is capable of so far,” he added.

Coutinho had moved to Barcelona in a £121.5 million deal from Liverpool in the 2018 January transfer window. But he could not replicate his Liverpool form with the Catalan giants, scoring 25 and assisting 14 goals in 106 matches. He was sent out on a year-long loan to Bayern Munich for the 2019/20 season, where he was relatively successful, scoring 11 and assisting nine times.

With the 29-year-old finding form upon return to England, he could be tempted to make the move permanent. He will have a year left on his contract with the Catalan giants after this season. Aston Villa are believed to have an option to sign him on a full-time basis in the summer for a sum of €40 million. Whether they are willing to cough up that amount or try to negotiate a lower fee remains to be seen.

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