‘Thank him and move on’; expert urges Gerrard to ignore calls for Villa signing with big money

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Former Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore believes Steven Gerrard should be given the chance to sign Philippe Coutinho this summer and target other players.

Coutinho, 29, moved to Villa Park on loan during the January transfer window after falling into Barcelona’s pick order. The Brazilian ace had only made five starts among 12 LaLiga appearances while scoring a couple of goals. The chance to be reunited with former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard appealed.

And he hit the ground with four goals and three assists in his first eight games. But the South American’s production then declined, and his dives in shape reflected Villas.

Villans has dropped to 15th place in the top class with 37 points from 32 games. They had lost four in a row before Saturday’s goalless draw in Leicester City.

Although they are not mathematically certain of the fall yet, they are unlikely to be drawn into a relegation battle. Gerrard and the Villa hierarchy will meet over the summer and plan a way to get the club back on track.

The former English captain has already demonstrated his traction as manager by luring Coutinho and Lucas Digne to the club. And it seemed obvious that he would make the Barca man’s loan spell a permanent feature in the low season.

Collymore is not so sure. And he believes it’s not a good deal to pay out around £ 35 million for a “luxury player”.

“If we are regularly sixth to eighth and want a dozen matches with ‘extra special’, then it’s worth the injury / disappearance risk,” he said.

“When you compete to get into the top half, fees and salaries are better resources elsewhere. Thank him and move on.”

Coutinho must prove his worth

Coutinho was a superstar while in Liverpool and it was no surprise when Barcelona paid a hefty fee to buy him in January 2018. He enjoyed a decent start to life at the Nou Camp but has had a difficult time in the ensuing year.

Barca loaned him to Bayern Munich for the 2019-20 campaign, but again he was underpowered by the Bundesliga giants. A knee injury caused him to miss half of the following season back in Spain and his playing time kept declining.

It remains to be seen AstonVilla make use of the opportunity to make it a permanent agreement, with Newcastle are now connected. The boss will hope Coutinho enjoys a strong end to the season to push the Villa moneymen in the right direction.

READ MORE: Aston Villa muted by a major Grealish blow as Martinez makes ‘inconsistent’ claim





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