Philippe Coutinho is reportedly set to join Aston Villa from Barcelona in a six-month loan deal.
That’s according to The Athletic, who claim Villa boss Gerrard is the ‘key factor’ in the Brazil international’s decision to return to the Premier League.
A number of Premier League clubs, including Newcastle and Everton, have been linked with a move for Coutinho, but Gerrard – who played alongside the 29-year-old at Liverpool – has persuaded him to move to Villa Park.
Gerrard described Coutinho as a “wonderful footballer” on Thursday, but was cautious given the number of other sides linked with his signature.
“I do appreciate that his name is out there and that he’s linked to Aston Villa, but there are also five other clubs in the Premier League and others across Europe who are linked with him,” Gerrard said.
“I can understand that because you’re talking about a world-class individual and player.
“He’s a wonderful footballer.
“To share a pitch with Coutinho was a great experience because he was on a level that few footballers are on. His imagination, his creation, and also some of the highlight reels are incredible. His name speaks for himself. But I can’t say any more than that.”
Barcelona are in the process of shipping out expendable players from their squad so they can register new £55million signed Ferran Torres.
And Coutino’s high salary meant he was a priority.
Coutinho spent six years in the Premier League playing for Liverpool, making 201 appearances for the Anfield club, scoring 54 goals.
Meanwhile, Liverpool star Sadio Mane has said he would “trade” all of the trophies he’s won in his club career to lift the AFCON with Senegal.
“When I was a kid, they called me Ballonbuwa (ball wizard), but I was always more of a Gaynde (lion): ruthless, explosive, a hunter.
“I have been hunting my whole career, but no matter what I have caught – I am still hungry.
“My people have waited a long time. I would trade it all to win this one. This is my time. The Lion roars.”