Aston Villa forward is targeted for transfer after £17m nightmare

Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa
Philippe Coutinho of Aston Villa -Credit:Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho could return to his native Brazil this summer and end his unfortunate Aston Villa spell prematurely after spending the season out on loan in Qatar with Al-Duhail. Coutinho was brought to Villa, initially on loan, by former teammate and then boss Steven Gerrard.

After an excellent early impression, in which Coutinho made big impacts on his debut against Manchester United, in the hammering of Southampton and also in home and away meetings with Leeds United, his influence faded as Gerrard's tenure began to sour. Aside from his goal on the final day of the season at Manchester City that season, the only other goal the Brazilian contributed since has been in the 4-2 defeat to Arsenal last year.

Unai Emery was happy to allow Coutinho to leave in the summer, but only a loan move could be secured for the former Liverpool playmaker, who once cost Barcelona around £140m, and he headed to Al-Duhail where he has been playing regularly. Coutinho, who cost Villa £17m when they decided to sign him permanently, has two more years remaining on his contract.

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Villa, though - as they have done recently with Morgan Sanson, who is signing for Nice permanently - will have to be prepared to take a hit on what they paid Barca for Coutinho. There are reports, though, that ambitious Cruzeiro are interested in bringing Coutinho back to Brazil. It's claimed that he is now valued at just €7m.

Cruzeiro are hoping to re-establish themselves at the top of Brazilian football and last year they signed former West Brom star Matheus Pereira. Coutinho, who turns 32 next month, will return to Villa from his loan spell this summer along with another outcast in Leander Dendoncker.

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