Philippe Coutinho’s first words as an Aston Villa player after moving to Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho has revealed he was ‘very clear’ about his next move after Barcelona after discussions with Steven Gerrard over a possible transfer to Aston Villa.

The Brazil international has completed a loan switch to Villa Park by the end of the season, which could be made permanent for a reported £33million fee.

Coutinho arrived in England this afternoon and will meet his new teammates for the first time at Bodymoor Heath on Wednesday morning.

Speaking of his arrival, Coutinho explained Villa TV: “It’s a pleasure to be here, it’s a great club.

“I talked a lot with Stevie, the manager, and he told me about the club and their ambitions. I’m very happy to be here and I want to enjoy my football.”

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He continued: “I’ve known Steve for a long time. I played with him and I learned a lot from him.

“He’s someone I admire a lot for. I hope to do my best here. Of course, I’ll work hard, and I hope we can do a great job together.”

“He told me about the club, about the club’s ambitions, the big things they want to achieve and their ambitions as well.

“When I spoke to him after the meeting it was clear to me that I wanted to be here and it was early, I am very happy to be here.”

The playmaker was of interest to a number of Premier League clubs this month, while other teams in Europe were added as Barcelona looked to take down one of their highest earners this January.

The former Liverpool ace became the second most expensive footballer in history when he joined Barcelona in 2019 for a £142million fee, but he was struggling to live up to the expectations.

Coutinho is hoping to find a foothold at his new club in no time and will reward his supporters with strong performances for the rest of the season.

“I am looking forward to being on the pitch, meeting the fans. I know and I think they are happy that I am here,” he said.

“I want to pay for it on the pitch and enjoy my football. I look forward to being on the pitch.

“I always want to do my best, do my job. I work hard every day for this.

“I hope it will be a wonderful rest here.”

Coutinho will wear number 23 at Villa, with no indication of which position Gerrard will ask him to play.

“I’m here to help the team, I played as No. 10, wide too,” added Villa’s new signing.

“I’ve played as No. 10 but also wide but of course, I play better in No. 10 position. It’s a position where I like freedom, but as I say, the manager will say.

“I have personal objectives that I keep personal, I will work hard for them and give my best on the pitch.

“I hope to achieve my personal objectives as well, yes.”

Aston Villa indebted Philippe Coutinho
Aston Villa indebted Philippe Coutinho

It didn’t take long for the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich maestro to be convinced that Villa was the right move to restart his career, and he reached out to two of his former team-mates for advice before switching to B6 .

“I only know two, Douglas and Inges,” said Coutinho.

“I spoke with him earlier so I’m really looking forward to tomorrow to meet my teammates.

“He said a lot about the club, that it’s a great club, a great city, a great place.

He has recently been self-isolating with Covid-19 but claims he ‘feels well’ ahead of Villa’s home clash against Manchester United on Saturday.

“I feel good, I was training at home every day,” Coutinho said.

“I spoke with the fitness coach here as well, I think I’m good but of course tomorrow I’ll meet with the staff and I’ll see what the plan is for training but I feel great.”

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