Philippe Coutinho: Aston Villa close to agreeing loan move for Barcelona midfielder

Philippe Coutinho is close to a loan move.

An announcement is expected on Friday, after Coutinho made a decision over his future.

One of the two English teams that are interested in signing the Brazilian is believed to be Villa, who want to sign him to play regular football in England.

According to reports, Coutinho is more than willing to sign for Villa, who are 13th in the premier league, as he sees them as an ambitious club that are building something special for the future.

The Brazil player knows Steven Gerrard from their time together atLiverpool, and is said to know a lot about Villa and their squad.

Sky Sports News has been told that there is a chance that Coutinho could return to the club this month.

It is understood that the 29-year-old will not be moving to the Reds during the January transfer window.

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After signing for Barcelona for a club-record fee of over one hundred million dollars in January of last year, Philippe Coutinho has struggled to hold down a first-team place at the club and spent the last season on loan at German club FCB.

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There were up to six English clubs in the race to sign Coutinho earlier this week, but now there are only two serious competitors.

At Thursday's news conference ahead of Monday's FA Cup third-round tie at Manchester United, Steven Gerrard refused to be drawn on the prospect of signing his former team-mate, Philippe Coutinho.

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Steven Gerrard was tight-lipped on a potential move for Philippe Coutinho.

"He's linked to a lot of football clubs because he was an incredible player atLiverpool, so I can understand why he's linked to them," said the captain.

I can understand why people are talking about him. I don't think you get a nickname as a magician if you're not a special footballer, so he's someone I have an incredible amount of respect for.

He belongs to Barcelona, so I don't want to add to that speculation.

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We take a look back at some of Philippe Coutinho's best goals in the premier league.

'Coutinho is a serial winner wherever he's been.'

Since making his dream move to Catalonia, Coutinho has struggled, but still managed to win four major trophies as a bit-part player.

Despite widespread belief that Coutinho has not been up to par since moving to Spain, his former team-mate, Steven Gerrard, thinks he still has a lot to offer.

He won two league titles with Barcelona.

If you look at his page on the internet, you'll see he's a serial winner.

I have nothing but positive things to say about the player, he's a friend of mine, so if I'm asked the questions I can speak for as long as you want."

The Brazilian spent the season on loan at the German club and won the German Cup and the European Championship.

'Coutinho would be happy to play for Villa'

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A source has said that Philippe Coutinho is interested in playing for Villa.

Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol.

"My feeling is that Philippe Coutinho would be interested in joining Villa and I spoke to people on the player's side of the deal."

He knows a lot of people at Villa. He knows Steven and Christian from his time at the club. He thinks Villa are an up-and-coming club. The owners have big plans for the club.

He feels if he was playing regularly at Villa, he could help them get up the table and into Europe, because he knows the king of quality in the squad, players like Ollie Watkins, Emi Buendia and Emi Martinez.

I think that's definitely on the cards, and as far as Villa are concerned, they are not giving anything away. They aren't commenting because he's a Barcelona player.

"From the player's point of view, I believe that Coutinho would be more than happy to play for both Steven Gerrard and Villa."

Sky Sports has a January transfer window.

Who will be moving in January?

The January transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.

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