‘Invaluable’ Coutinho completes Villa medical

London (AFP) – Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard labelled Philippe Coutinho “invaluable” after the Brazilian star completed a medical ahead of a loan move from Barcelona.

Villa confirmed that Coutinho passed his medical and that he was in France while he obtained a work permit.

The 29-year-old is expected to join his new team-mates at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground on Wednesday.

Gerrard played with Coutinho at Liverpool and believes the playmaker will have a big impact on his return to the Premier League.

“His presence will be invaluable, given injuries and the AFCON tournament have reduced our attacking options,” Gerrard told Villa’s website on Monday.

“He is a player I enjoyed playing with previously and I know the rest of the squad here at Aston Villa will benefit from his quality and experience.”

Villa have signed Coutinho on loan for the rest of the season and have the option to buy him in the summer.

Barcelona confirmed Villa will pay part of Coutinho’s wages as he returns to the Premier League four years after leaving Liverpool.

Coutinho joined Barcelona in 2018 in a deal worth £146 million ($198 million), but he has struggled at the Nou Camp and spent 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich.

He becomes Gerrard’s first signing at Villa since joining from Rangers in November to replace Dean Smith.

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