Ever since the news began to break earlier this week that Philippe Coutinho might be leaving the Nou Camp for Villa Park, Villa fans all over the globe have been trying to wrap our heads around how a signing this huge could come to be and the answer is simple.. Steven Gerrard. I've gone on record about how much I loved Dean Smith during his time at the Villa and was one of many who were sad to see him go, but let's call it as it is, we were never going to bring in players of this magnitude under the previous regime which is half the reason Gerrard is here.
It's no secret that with the help of Christian Purslow, the owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are aiming to not just take Aston Villa higher in the league and hopefully win some silverware, but also make the club a big brand name across the world. Bringing in a superstar who in 2018 cost Barcelona £146 million is a clear sign of that intent and shows how far we've come under the new ownership. On that very day Philippe Coutinho was sold for a record breaking fee, Villa were being dumped out the cup by Peterborough United whilst scrapping away in the Championship for a play-off spot under Steve Bruce. How times have changed..
and exciting talent then look to sell them on for big money further down the line (look towards the potential signing of Aaron Hickey for continued proof of this) but if the owners are serious about building Aston Villa as a brand then they simply can't afford to miss an opportunity like this one when it presents itself. When the hunt for a new manager was going on back in November, transfer deals such as this one would have been a driving force in hiring a manager with the pulling power that Steven Gerrard clearly has.
It's not only the allure of playing under an exciting young manager with a legendary playing career that will entice bigger name players to rock up at B6 but of course Gerrard's past relationships as well. There has been a lot of talk that during their time at Liverpool, Gerrard would look out for Coutinho and often text him to make sure he was alright and even continued to keep in contact with the Brazilian during his time away from the Premier League. This relationship appears to have played a huge part on why we were able to get the deal across the line ahead of other interested parties.
There are bound to be many more players who Gerrard has a similar history with that could continue to benefit Villa in the future and Purslow (who also has a big history with both Gerrard and Coutinho) was well aware of this when the decision was made to bring him in from Rangers and deserves all the plaudits for pulling this one off.
The future is undoubtedly bright for Aston Villa right now. In only a very short amount of time the appointment of Steven Gerrard has proved beneficial to the current players, especially in midfield. He's been able to attract one of the biggest names in world football and youngsters across the globe appear to be chomping at the bit to come in and learn from a legend of the game.
January 2022, Philippe Coutinho has officially become an Aston Villa player.. just let that sink in for a minute. Enjoy this moment Villa fans and hopefully get used to it! UTV!