A Beginner’s Guide to Philippe Coutinho
Before we do any deep-diving later in pre-season, let’s get everyone up to scratch with a brass tacks skinny guide of Villa’s signings, by fielding the five ‘W’s’ of the player.
Who are they, What are they about, Where will they fit at Villa, Why were they signed, and worries when they play in a Villa shirt?
Yes, Philippe Coutinho isn’t exactly a new signing, but he is in terms of being permanent, so please do humour us.
Philippe Coutinho – The 5 W’s
Turning 30 this coming Sunday, attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho Correia, is a genuine global marque name. He is still the third most expensive transfer in association football, behind Neymar and Mbappe, after his move to Barcelona from Liverpool in 2018.
Coutinho simply brings class to Aston Villa. On the pitch, he displays a level of ability and a first touch far in advance of the rest of the squad. Just think back to that goal against Manchester City.
Unfortunately, if he is adequately shackled and doesn’t have proper support, he can disappear and become a luxury.
Getting him the support will be the key to getting the best from the magician, as will his relationship with Villa’s other diminutive South American, Emiliano Buendia.
If the two of them can find a way to co-exist, and complement each other as they did in fleeting moments last season, then Villa’s attack will flourish.
Based on the Brazilian’s loan period last season, there were certainly doubts about his worth to the team, if the club were buying him for £30m+, but at a fee circa £17m, it was a no-brainer.
Coutinho generally plays on the left of an attacking three or behind the front two. During his loan spell at Villa, he showed a willingness to drop deep on several occasions.
Steven Gerrard will need to find the best place for Coutinho to get on the ball and influence games, as much as possible.
Off the pitch, Coutinho brings Villa, gravitas and commercial income.
Players want to sign to play with him, sponsors want to be associated with him, and the press want to write about him.
He is as good a replacement for Jack Grealish, in this aspect, a team finishing 14th in the league could hope to attract.
His major honours include: Italian, Spanish, and German Cups, Spanish and German League titles, and one European Cup.
Also, he’s happy at Villa, hard-working and humble despite his achievements.
Simply put, if he is available in the clearance bin, you buy him. He’s a class act.
As previously mentioned, the main drawback with Coutinho is getting him involved in games and how he affects the development of Emiliano Buendia.
Both are the key to unlocking Villa’s attacking potential, the individual skills one is the master at, the other can perform at a level well above average; hence you can rotate them.
As a paying Villa fan, you obviously want them both in the team.
Aston Villa and Steven Gerrard will hope the improvements in the transfer window will give Coutinho, the space to win matches, if he does, then it will be one of the best value for money signings in the club’s history.
Follow Phil on Twitter here – @prsgame