Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to Aston Villa was finalized on Thursday, but he still had time to put up an emotional farewell to his old club Barcelona, despite not living up to expectations there.
With his permanent departure from the Camp Nou finalized, Philippe Coutinho has described playing at Barcelona as a “dream.”
On Thursday evening, the Brazilian playmaker was officially declared a full-time Aston Villa player, with the Premier League club electing to make his loan agreement permanent.
After agreeing to a £17 million price with Barca, the Brazilian international has signed a four-year contract with the Premier League club.
The La Liga club, which paid a nine-figure fee to transfer him to Camp Nou from Liverpool in January 2018, has lost more than £100 million.
The permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho by Aston Villa is crucial for Steven Gerrard’s team, but it also marks another watershed moment in Barcelona’s current transfer season.
Coutinho, who battled for consistency before a loan move to Bayern Munich, never quite reached the heights expected of him in Spain.
Despite his inconsistency with Barcelona, the playmaker has written a moving farewell to the Catalan giants as his five-year contract expires.
Coutinho isn’t the only 2017-18 acquisition who failed to make an impression.
Only one player remains on a permanent agreement with Ernesto Valverde’s side after Coutinho’s departure, and he, too, might be gone soon.
He posted on Instagram that playing at Barcelona was a childhood dream for him which he was able to fulfill.
“I’m grateful for all I’ve learned at the club, and I’d like to thank everyone who helped me along the way, including the athletes, coaches, fans, and other personnel. “Barcelona, thank you.”
Coutinho scored 25 goals in 106 appearances for the Spanish giants in all competitions. At Villa Park, though, his performance has improved.
He has scored four goals and contributed three assists in 16 Premier League outings since joining the club in the January transfer window.
The midfielder signed a four-year contract to continue at Villa Park after those performances.
Villa manager Steven Gerrard was left waxing lyrically about Coutinho’s ability and the club’s attempts to get the trade over the line following the news of Coutinho’s permanent signing.
“This is a wonderful signing for Aston Villa,” he remarked on the club’s official website.
“Phil is a consummate professional, and his effect on the team has been palpable since his January arrival.
Because of the way he conducts himself on and off the field, he would also be a fantastic role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his knowledge and experience.”
Working with a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly is amazing as we look ahead to the upcoming season.”
Like Gerrard, Coutinho will want to end their first seasons at Villa Park on a high note.
The Midlands club is chasing a top-half Premier League finish. With three games remaining in the season, they are presently ranked 12th.
The team will play Crystal Palace at Villa Park before facing relegation-threatened Burnley at Villa Park. Villa will then play Manchester City to end the season.