Speaking at Villa’s annual awards dinner, it was confirmed that Coutinho would be staying in B6. Whilst Villa’s official statement omits the fee, describing the transfer (as in commonplace) as “undisclosed”, Barcelona’s seperate announcement stated that the deal totalled €20m. Interestingly, the deal also includes a clause stipulating a 50% sell on fee.
It has also been reported that Coutinho has taken a wage cut of 70% to remain at Villa Park, a substantial reduction from his salary for the Catalan giants, understood to have been an eye-watering £480,00 per week.
Supporters concerned about the pitfalls of [never] “falling in love with a loan player“, can now feel at ease.
This move cannot be understated for its significance given that Coutinho represents without question one of Villa’s boldest deals of the modern era. The Brazilian lit up the Premier League for Liverpool before a gargantuan transfer to Barcelona followed.
At Villa, the 29 year old made an instant impression, assisting and scoring from the bench against Manchester United. Other highlights included an unplayable display against Southampton in which he was involved in 3 goals as well as getting on the scoresheet against Leeds.
It’s not all been plain sailing, and with big talents come big expectations. Coutinho has been quiet on occasion, particularly away from home. Gerrard also has to unlock Countinho’s qualities, whilst not overlooking the sidelined club record signing Emi Buendia in the process.
This is also a defining moment for the current regime and it’s openly stated strategy of “opportunism” and “continous improvement. A high profile, big money signing is offset against generation defining and in some unfortunate cases unprecedented season ticket price increases.
On stage following the announcement Coutinho stated his ambitions for the club and looked ahead to next season. It’s a campaign that given the investment, statements of intent and contributions of supporters must now be at the competitive end of the division.
It’s time to realise the promise and potential.