Aston Villa have been given a glowing review for a star considering his future with one pundit asking “what more could you want?”.
Villa haven’t enjoyed the season that they were hoping for this year. It took time to adapt to the loss of star man Jack Grealish, and Dean Smith ultimately paid with his own departure. Results under Steven Gerrard have since been a mixed bag.
However, there is serious promise for the 2022/23 campaign. The new boss has shown glimmers of major potential.
And the club are determined to push on and become contenders for European football with impressive business in the transfer market.
A move which would help them achieve that target would be to sign Philippe Coutinho on a permanent deal this summer.
The Brazil international proved he can be a game-changer once again in the 4-0 victory over Southampton at the weekend.
Former Villa defender Micah Richards believes not only should Villa choose Coutinho, but he should choose the Midlands club.
When asked if he should stay at Villa Park, Richards told BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club: “Why not? It’s about football, it’s about love.
“Villa have got a load of investment. They have got a manager who he has played with who he knows inside out, he has got [Jacob] Ramsey – exciting.
“He has got John McGinn inside him in that midfield. [Ollie] Watkins and [Danny] Ings up front. [Matty] Cash an outstanding right back with [Lucas] Digne as well.
“What more could you ask for? You keep talking about ‘Would you sign him?’
“Players want to play football and players want to be loved and he is getting that at Aston Villa.
“So why on God’s earth would he not want to make it permanent?”
Aston Villa call out of Gerrard’s hands
Gerrard not in control of Coutinho situation as permanent signing not guaranteed
Steven Gerrard is not in control of the Coutinho transfer as the Brazilian isn’t guaranteed to stay at Aston Villa after this season
Gerrard has admitted that as much as he wants Coutinho for the long-term, it is out of his control.
“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 team-mates,” Gerrard said.
“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.”