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Barcelona hoping Coutinho can join Aston Villa on 18-month loan - report

A Premier League return could be on the cards

FC Barcelona v Valencia CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Philippe Coutinho’s time at Barcelona looks to be coming to an end with reports claiming the Brazilian is “very close” to a move to Aston Villa.

The Catalans are keen to offload the Brazilian as soon as possible which would allow the club to register Ferran Torres following his arrival from Manchester City.

Diario Sport reckon that an agreement between Barcelona and Villa for Coutinho is very close after productive talks between the two sides.

Interestingly, the report also reckons that Barca are pushing hard for it to be an 18-month loan which would take Coutinho to the end of his contract which expires in 2023.

The longer loan would help Barca financially, although it’s not clear if that’s something that would work for Aston Villa as talks had initially been about a six-month loan.

Villa boss Steven Gerrard spoke about Coutinho at a press conference on Thursday but didn’t really want to be draw on the rumors.

“He is someone I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for, but I don’t want to add to speculation because he belongs to Barcelona,” he said.

“I don’t think you get a nickname of ‘The Magician’ if you’re not a special footballer.

“I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about the player. He’s a friend of mine so if I’m asked the questions I can speak for as long as you want. But if you’re trying to link it to any speculation or catch me out you’re in for a long afternoon.”

Diario Sport reckon that Gerrard thinks Coutinho can be a “decisive player” for the Villans and has already spoken to the Brazilian about the role he could play at Villa Park.