Aston Villa negotiating Philippe Coutinho loan as Steven Gerrard targets shock reunion

Premier League title race: Man City stretch lead at top

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Steven Gerrard’s tenure at Aston Villa has got off to a positive start with four wins from eight games. However, there is still a lot of work to be done with his side in 13th and his side’s chances of a top-half finish could be majorly boosted via the loan signing of Philippe Coutinho, with a deal reportedly close.

Gerrard took over Villa from Rangers in late November after five losses in a row in the league for Dean Smith.

He instantly got his new side off to a superb start, winning three of his first four games.

Even at present, four wins from eight is a respectable record when you take into account Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City – the current top three in the top flight – have all been opponents from Gerrard early in his tenure.

However, having been left just one point above the relegation zone by Smith, Gerrard’s men are still in the bottom half.

And their hopes of climbing up the table could be helped with the loan signing of Barcelona’s wantaway playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

A report by Matte Morreto states that Barcelona are negotiating with Villa about loaning Coutinho to Villa Park until the end of the season.

And a deal is supposedly close to being confirmed with Villa having moved quickly to try and wrap up an agreement.

The Brazilian played alongside Gerrard for three seasons at Liverpool, amassing 81 league appearances in the time that they were at the club together.

Gerrard subsequently left  Liverpool for LA Galaxy in July 2015, and it was from there that Coutinho became the Reds’ go-to guy.

Scoring 21 league goals in just 57 games from midfield, Coutinho announced himself as one of the best players in the world.

This was enough for Barcelona to spend upwards of £140million for his services although he failed to produce his best form in Catalonia.

Despite his failed move to La Liga, the excellence Gerrard saw from the player in their three years at Anfield together has prompted the Villa boss to make a move.

Coutinho had also been linked with Everton, Newcastle and Liverpool in recent months and years.

However if the report is to be believed, then Villa are set to land the Brazil international to add some extra creative spark to their team.

One key reason for Villa’s tough season so far has been Jack Grealish’s departure to City – with Villa having scored seven more goals at this stage last season than they have in the current campaign.

With Leon Bailey still not fully adjusted to life in England after playing only nine games in the Premier League, with one goal and two assists to his name, Villa need a new spark to supplement Emi Buendia’s excellence.

And Coutinho could be the man, having also played with Villa striker Danny Ings in his time at Anfield.

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