Philippe Coutinho moved to Aston Villa from Barcelona on a six-month loan deal in the January transfer window; Brazil playmaker has been directly involved in six goals in only seven Premier League appearances since joining the club
Thursday 10 March 2022 15:36, UK
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard says no decision has been made on whether the club will try to sign Philippe Coutinho on a permanent contract this summer.
The Brazil forward moved to Villa Park from Barcelona on a six-month loan deal in January and has made an instant impact.
Coutinho, 29, has been directly involved in six goals in only seven Premier League appearances, with three goals and three assists, since being reunited with his former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard, who is now in charge at Villa.
"When he's comfortable, he's happy and he's enjoying his football we all know we're dealing with a world-class talent," Gerrard said.
"For me, it doesn't make sense to make any decisions now or say anything else on this, we just need to keep enjoying him and keep him healthy from now until the end of the season."
Coutinho's loan runs out at the end of the campaign, when the club's owners and Gerrard will need to decide whether Villa can afford to turn the player's short-term stay into a permanent transfer.
Sky Sports' Paul Merson:
"He's had a massive impact at Villa Park.
"When he signed, I thought that we'd have to wait and see what happens. He hadn't played a lot of football and he'd been away from the Premier League for a good while, but against Southampton he was breathtaking.
"It was an outstanding performance.
"I think Villa will have to now look at selling Emi Buendia with a view to signing Coutinho. I'm not sure both of them can play in the same team. I don't think Villa are that good that they can play both in the same side at the same time."
Sky Sports' Paul Merson:
"I thought the win against Southampton was a big result for Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa.
"They were stuck in a bit of treacle recently but then they've had two great results back-to-back with wins against Brighton and Southampton.
"What Gerrard will be looking for now is consistency, and that is the thing that hasn't been at Villa for the last few years.
"They've now had two very good wins against what I'd class two very difficult Premier League sides to face, and they'll want to continue that good form."
Sky Sports' Richard Morgan:
"One wonders just how Aston Villa are going to be able to keep hold of their twinkle-toed Brazil international come the summer given his displays since moving to Villa Park on a six-month loan from Barcelona in the January transfer window.
"Coutinho was at it again on Saturday in helping to dismantle an in-form Southampton side 4-0 at home, with the playmaker having a hand in three of his side's goals, including another for the man himself, who could - and should - have had a first-half hat-trick in the west Midlands sun.
"His manager and former Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard was rightly purring at the full-time whistle, stating that 'with all due respect to everyone else on the pitch, he [Coutinho] showed a level that was above the game. He really showed his form of old and it was a pleasure to be in the stadium'."
"And with good reason too as the 29-year-old has now been directly involved in six goals in only seven top-flight appearances for his new team at Villa Park, with three goals and three assists, attacking numbers that will surely make the rest of the Premier League sit up and take notice."