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Ashley Cole got it badly wrong with Aston Villa’s signing of Coutinho

Ashley Cole, like many others, got it badly wrong when Aston Villa first brought in Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona, as the Brazilian continues to struggle in Steven Gerrard’s side.

The attacking midfielder initially joined Villa on loan in January last season, and Cole was very excited by his potential in the Premier League.

The former England man said: “I don’t think he needs to prove anything back in England.

“The problem was when he went to Barcelona and maybe that move, at that time, didn’t work out. But him coming back here, he’s got a lot of qualities.

“Ultimately, when you want to bring him into a new environment, is he going to improve the squad on the pitch and off the pitch? Steven obviously has faith and belief that he can do both sides of that and you can’t doubt his quality.”

After a bright start to his life at Villa Park, which returned four goals and three assists in his opening eight matches, the former Liverpool man quickly showed his true colours in the Premier League.

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He would manage just one more goal in the next 11 matches but Gerrard, perhaps swayed by the Brazilian’s performances when they played together at Liverpool, was determined to bring him in on a permanent deal.

There was hope that, with a proper pre-season under his belt, Coutinho would rediscover some of the form he showed at the start of his spell with Villa, but this season has been something of a disaster for the Brazil international thus far.

In ten appearances in all competitions, Coutinho has failed to contribute a single goal or assist, with WhoScored awarding him a poor average rating of just 6.48 for his performances in the Premier League.

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Of those to start more than one game for the Midlands outfit this campaign, it’s a rating that would alarmingly rank him as their fourth-worst player.

Former Villa man Gabby Agbonlahor labelled Coutinho “disappointing” after his form led to him being dropped from the Brazil squad, and it is difficult to see his performances turning around anytime soon.

While Cole suggested that the Brazilian didn’t have anything to prove in the Premier League, that has quickly proven to not be the case and Villa now run the risk of keeping an ageing midfielder in their squad until his contract expires in 2026, as his recent displays suggest that very few sides would be keen to prise him away from Villa Park.

Article title: Ashley Cole got it badly wrong with Aston Villa’s signing of Coutinho

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