Aston Villa are not getting the same Philippe Coutinho who lit up the Premier League at Liverpool, one pundit has warned.
Villa announced the Barcelona midfielder as their first signing of the January transfer window on Friday. Indeed, they won a race reportedly once involving six Premier League clubs to sign him.
Coutinho has joined on loan until the end of the season. However, the deal also features an option to buy clause.
Villa boss Steven Gerrard, who starred alongside the Brazilian at Liverpool, played a vital role in the deal.
Gerrard spoke glowingly of his former team-mate in a press conference on Thursday. He labelled it an “absolute pleasure” to have worked alongside him.
And pundit Simon Jordan also praised the Coutinho deal. However, he warned Villa that the 29-year-old has changed significantly since he left Liverpool four years ago.
Since then, Coutinho has struggled to truly realise his dream of being a Barcelona star.
“I think it says a lot about Steven Gerrard and his ability to be able to attract certain players because initially this is a relationship born out of Liverpool,” Jordan told talkSPORT (via the Birmingham Mail).
Aston Villa complete loan signing of Coutinho
Aston Villa and Steven Gerrard have pulled some strings and secured the signing of Coutinho on loan from Barcelona
“Look, on paper it looks like a wonderful signing. This is a player who has played 99 games over the last four or five years so it’s not the same player who left Liverpool, who really set the heather on fire.
“It’s also a clever move from Villa because there’s no transfer fee involved. I would add that there’s probably at best 50% of the wages being covered.
“So in Premier League terms, while it has stardust over it and it looks like a great piece of business, in economic terms, in a January window, Villa have gone out and spent about seven or eight million quid.
“They’ve gone and got a player, picked up half of his wages, say £150,000 a week and gone and got him for 26 weeks. So when you look at it from that point of view it looks like something that will really get people’s interest going.”
Coutinho tipped to bring Villa success
Villa have ambitious plans to play in Europe under Gerrard.
They used the £100million they earned from Jack Grealish’s summer sale to Manchester City to bring in Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia and Leon Bailey. Still, they want more.
Gabriel Agbonlahor also told talkSPORT: “I look at the Aston Villa side at the moment, we’ve got three or four players who are mediocre.
“Gerrard will want top, top players. He hasn’t come to Aston Villa to finish 12th or 13th every season!
“He’ll want to finish in the top six and players like Coutinho will give Villa a better chance.
“Yes, he’s not been at his best at Barcelona, but I’m sure Gerrard will get the best out of him.”
Villa return to action on Monday when facing Manchester United in the FA Cup. Nevertheless, that match will likely come too soon for Coutinho’s debut.