Steven Gerrard insists he 'wants' other teams to take an interest in Philippe Coutinho

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Steven Gerrard says he ‘wants’ other teams to take an interest in Philippe Coutinho after Barcelona playmaker’s impressive start to life on loan – as Aston Villa boss insists the Brazilian is ‘really happy and settled’

  • Steven Gerrard brought in ex-Liverpool team-mate Philippe Coutinho in January
  • Coutinho has scored three goals and registered three assists so far at Villa 
  • Aston Villa have an option to buy the Brazilian in the summer for £33million 
  • Gerrard is relaxed, insisting his future will be finalised ‘when the time is right’ 

Steven Gerrard has welcomed interest in Philippe Coutinho from rival clubs as it proves Aston Villa secured a coup by signing the Brazilian in January.

Villa brought in Gerrard’s former Liverpool team-mate from Barcelona on a loan deal until the end of the season, with an option to buy him for £33million at the end of the campaign.

The club are currently contributing about £125,000 towards Coutinho’s wages, with the 29-year-old’s contract in Spain due to expire at the end of next season.  

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has welcomed interest in Philippe Coutinho from rival clubs

The club are currently contributing about £125,000 towards Coutinho¿s wages

Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has welcomed interest in Philippe Coutinho from rival clubs

Since returning to the Premier League, Coutinho has three goals and three assists to his name

Since returning to the Premier League, Coutinho has three goals and three assists to his name

Since returning to the Premier League he has three goals and three assists, ahead of Villa’s match at Leeds on Thursday. 

‘If a lot of people are looking at him because of his form for Villa, that’s what I want, in a strange way,’ said Gerrard. ‘I’d have taken that on the day we signed him.

‘We’ve got an option on Phil at the end of the season and we’ll make the decision when the time is right. The key for me is the player. He seems really happy and settled.

‘People have worked so hard to help feel comfortable here and he’s playing some of his best football because of the job the club have done to make him feel welcome and help him find his football happiness again.

Villa brought in Gerrard¿s former Liverpool team-mate from Barcelona on a loan deal

Villa brought in Gerrard’s former Liverpool team-mate from Barcelona on a loan deal 

‘I’m comfortable with the situation. Phil only needs to focus on Leeds and try to stay as consistent as he can and we’ll deal with everything else when the time is right.’

The costs involved in a permanent deal may mean a second loan is a more attractive option for Villa, though Barcelona would be keen to secure a fee for Coutinho rather than lose him on a free transfer in summer 2023.

Gerrard may name an unchanged starting XI after his team dismantled Southampton 4-0 last Saturday, although defenders Ezri Konsa and Lucas Digne are available again after missing that match because they had Covid-19. 

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