Aston Villa flop expected to seal ‘romantic’ transfer away this summer

There were glimmers of quality from Coutinho in pre-season but injuries cost him a second shot at Villa stardom.There were glimmers of quality from Coutinho in pre-season but injuries cost him a second shot at Villa stardom.
There were glimmers of quality from Coutinho in pre-season but injuries cost him a second shot at Villa stardom. | Getty Images
Philippe Coutinho will return to Aston Villa this summer but only briefly as the Brazilian is reportedly set for a move to Vasco da Gama.

It would be a romantic homecoming as the former Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich midfielder broke through at Vasco da Gama, a team currently 13th out of 20 in the top flight of Brazilian football.

Coutinho has been out on loan at Qatari outfit Al-Duhail SC this season with an option to buy, but that stay is expected to end shortly after just four goals and two assists in 20 matches. An involvement at Villa is not planned as Unai Emery would prefer to sign a new, younger attacker.

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TNT Sports Brazil reports Vasco da Gama are interested in loaning Coutinho in the summer transfer window, with an obligation to buy - rather than an option - of between £4 million and £6 million. Such a fee would be a sizeable loss for Villa but at least some cash would be recouped.

There were glimmers of quality from Coutinho in pre-season but injuries cost him a second shot at Villa stardom.There were glimmers of quality from Coutinho in pre-season but injuries cost him a second shot at Villa stardom.
There were glimmers of quality from Coutinho in pre-season but injuries cost him a second shot at Villa stardom. | Getty Images

It’s unfortunate it never worked out for Coutinho at Villa Park after he arrived a global superstar. The 31-year-old impressed during an initial loan as he netted five and assisted three in 19 games but he failed to meet expectations when signed permanently for around £17 million, as just one goal in 22 games followed.

Signing for Vasco da Gama would be an admittance his time in elite European football is over but it could be a good move. Not only would he be back in his home surroundings, but the chance to regain some form and consistent fitness could open up opportunities at the twilight end of his career.

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