Aston Villa refuse to reveal Philippe Coutinho fee – only for Barcelona to confirm it

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Aston Villa confirmed the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona on Thursday, announcing it to their fans as an undisclosed fee – only for the Spanish giants to state the actual fee of £18million just four minutes later.

The Brazilian has really come into his own on loan at Villa Park, displaying the superb form he showed at Liverpool which tempted Barcelona into paying £135m for his services in 2018 and providing four goals and three assists in 16 games. Coutinho has linked up well under Steven Gerrard’s control to etch his name into the hearts of Villa fans, despite only being in the Midlands temporarily.

And that gave the club enough reason to sign him on a four-year contract – and although they tried to keep the fee quiet, Barca’s Twitter account revealed all when they confirmed it was an £18m fee just moments later. “Aston Villa is delighted to announce the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee,” the Premier League club’s account tweeted at 7.13pm.

But their secretive tactics were ruined when Barcelona one-upped them in the space of five minutes. “FC Barcelona and Aston Villa have reached an agreement to transfer Philippe Coutinho for 20 million euros [£18m],” they tweeted at 7.17pm.

Regardless of the fee, Villa fans will know they have a superb player on their hands and a natural successor to Jack Grealish at Villa Park. And Gerrard said as much once Coutinho’s contract was signed and sealed.

“This is a brilliant signing for Aston Villa,” Gerrard said. “Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January.

“With the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, he’s also a valuable role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his experience. As we look to build towards next season, it is incredible to work at a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly.”

Coutinho signed for Villa on loan in January after being heavily shunned by Ronald Koeman and Xavi throughout the first half of the campaign.

And with Villa currently lying 12th in the table after a 2-1 loss against Liverpool, Coutinho will be expected to drag them into the top half next campaign.

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