After a solid start to his loan spell at Villa Park, there were high hopes for Philippe Coutinho once he joined Aston Villa on a permanent deal but his time at the club has been something of a disaster.
Despite that, the club decided to make his move permanent in May, signing him from the Catalan side in a deal worth £17m.
His poor form has continued into the new season, with no goals or assists in any of his nine appearances so far this campaign, with the Brazilian looking like a shadow of the player that dominated in his previous Premier League spell with Liverpool.
His time with the La Liga giants was far less successful and it was no surprise that they were willing to cash in on the former Inter man given their well-documented financial issues in the summer.
Had Villa signed the Coutinho of his Liverpool days, that starred alongside Gerrard at Anfield, then perhaps the latter wouldn’t be under so much pressure as manager right now.
Unfortunately, after an eye-catching start, his form has fallen off a cliff and it now seems as if the Midlands club are stuck with an ageing midfielder who contributes nothing in defence and very little in attack.
His poor recent form, which has seen a return of just one goal and no assists in his last 20 matches, saw him dropped from the Brazil national side, with former Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor commenting on Coutinho’s time at Villa recently.
He said: “It would have been a wake-up call for him to understand that the Brazilian team have got so many talented players, he’s not a guaranteed pick.
“He would have had a wake-up call and thought ‘You know what, I’ve got to pick it up’. It’s a bit disappointing to see that, in the other way, it took being taken out of the Brazil squad to wake up and put in a better performance.”
That isn’t the first time the former Villa striker has launched criticism at the playmaker, with the following works being spoken following their opening day defeat to Bournemouth:
“The big disappointment was Coutinho,” Agbonlahor began.
“He’s been brought in by Steven Gerrard and he was non-existent and didn’t really get on the ball.”
After signing a contract until 2026, Villa could be stuck with an expensive bench option in their squad for the next three and a half years, which suggests that Gerrard’s decision to sign him permanently was perhaps done through rose-tinted glasses.