Philippe Coutinho ‘close’ to Aston Villa loan as Steven Gerrard reunion awaits

Philippe Coutinho is said to be nearing a Premier League return with Aston Villa in a reunion with his former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.

The Brazil international midfielder had endured a nightmare four seasons in Spain since breaking the hearts of the Anfield faithful by forcing a move to Barcelona.

Despite scoring 17 goals across just 76 league appearances from a possible 152, the 29-year-old has picked up two league and two cup winners medals amid a lack of consistent form.

Gerrard could now offer a lifeline to the former Inter Milan creator in the form of a short-term deal at Villa Park as the club look to push for unlikely European qualification.

Serie A and La Liga transfer expert Matteo Moretto tweeted on Wednesday that Coutinho was 'very close' to returning to the Premier League with Villa.

He adds that negotiations over a loan move until June are underway, and that they could be completed this week with Gerrard looking to improve his playing squad.

Despite a window of opportunity appearing after Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, the World Cup-winning midfielder admitted this week that Coutinho was free to leave.

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Xavi said: "We have not spoken.

"He is a good professional. For there to be inputs, there must be outputs. It seems that Alves will be enrolled today. For Ferran Torres we need departures or for Ousmane Dembele to renew."

Barcelona President Joan Laporta recently announced that the club "were back" after their bumper deal to sign Torres from Manchester City – despite their huge debt.

Coutinho is under contract at Barcelona until the summer of 2023, and he recently went on an 11-month goal drought before scoring against Valencia in October.

He said after that strike: "Nobody knows what I suffered during the recovery. After so long the goal is very important."

During his four years in Spain, Coutinho has missed 47 games due to a range of injuries that include hamstring, ankle and also fitness concerns.

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