‘Thank him and move on’; pundit urges Gerrard to ignore calls for big-money Villa signing
Former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore feels Steven Gerrard should pass on the chance to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer and target other players.
Coutinho, 29, moved to Villa Park on loan during the January transfer window after falling down the Barcelona pecking order. The Brazil ace had made just five starts among 12 LaLiga appearances while notching a couple of goals. The chance to reunite with former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard appealed.
And he hit the ground running, with four goals and three assists in his first eight games. However, the South American’s production then tailed off and his dip in form mirrored that of Villa’s.
The Villans have slumped to 15th in the top-flight standings, with 37 points from 32 games played. They had lost four in a row before Saturday’s goalless draw at Leicester City.
Although not mathematically safe from the drop just yet, it is unlikely they will be drawn into a relegation fight. Gerrard and the Villa hierarchy will get together over the summer and plan a way to get the club back on the right path.
The former England captain has already demonstrated his pulling power as a manager by luring Coutinho and Lucas Digne to the club. And it seemed obvious that he would want to turn the Barca man’s loan spell into a permanent move in the off-season.
Collymore is not so sure. And he believes that forking out around £35m for a ‘luxury player’ is not good business.
“If we are regularly sixth to eighth and want a dozen games of ‘extra special’ then it’s worth the injury/goes missing risk,” he said.
“When you’re competing to get into the top half, fees and wages are better resources elsewhere. Thank him and move on.”
Coutinho needs to prove his worth
Coutinho was a superstar while at Liverpool and it was no surprise when Barcelona paid a huge fee to sign him in January 2018. He enjoyed a decent start to life at the Nou Camp but has struggled in subsequent years.
Barca loaned him to Bayern Munich for the 2019-2020 campaign but again he underwhelmed with the Bundesliga giants. A knee injury saw him miss half of the following season back in Spain and his game time continued to decrease.
It remains to be seen if Aston Villa do take up the option to make it a permanent deal, with Newcastle now linked. The boss will hope that Coutinho enjoys a strong end to the season to nudge the Villa money men in the right direction.
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