Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho has struggled at Barcelona, could Aston Villa salvage his World Cup hopes?

Philippe Coutinho has struggled in recent months, with the Brazilian having lost his place as a starter to Ousmane Dembele. The Barcelona man could be on his way out of Catalonia after reports emerged that he is considering an offer from Premier League side Aston Villa. How will this affect Liverpool and Brazil’s World Cup chances?

Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho has struggled at Barcelona, could Aston Villa salvage his World Cup hopes?.

Even Philippe Coutinho was taken aback when he was called up to the Brazil team for the World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina in November. He hasn’t played for his nation since the first two rounds of the current qualifying campaign in October 2020.

However, it was critical to be remembered. It demonstrated that he is still on Tite’s mind, which, in a World Cup year, might have an impact on what happens to the offensive midfielder in the coming days.

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When Barcelona came knocking in 2018, how could he possible say no? This was an opportunity that a Brazilian creative genius couldn’t turn down. It meant joining a line that included Romario, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho, all the way to Neymar. There was no more enticing possibility. As a result, Coutinho left Liverpool, where everything had gone well and he was content, for Barcelona, where nothing was going right. Coutinho has to be towards the top of the list of terrible moves. At the time, his stated cost made him the second most expensive player in history. It wreaked havoc on Barcelona’s finances as well as Coutinho’s professional career. For three reasons, the second section, at least, was not difficult to foresee.


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The first was Coutinho’s acquisition with the intention of replacing Andres Iniesta. This was never going to work. He’s not a real midfielder, to put it that way. He’s a player who belongs in the last third of the field, rather than the midfield trio. The second reason was that he was unnecessary in Barcelona’s front three. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were the other two at the time, both of whom were towards the end of their careers. Another player who wanted the ball to his feet was the last thing Barcelona needed. They wanted a flyer, someone who could rush on to balls thrown ahead of him and lengthen the pitch. Prior to joining Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar had excelled in this position, blending in seamlessly with Messi and Suarez. This, though, was not Coutinho’s game. The whole, exorbitantly priced signing made no sense.

Coutinho stormed in like a man possessed, determined and inclined to bend the world to his will, and it may have worked. Coutinho, on the other hand, could never be such a player. The player is very bashful, as Tite points out. Almost every job advancement has been difficult for him to achieve. He didn’t have much of an impact on Brazil’s Under-17 team. He was a part of Oscar’s supporting cast despite helping to win the Under-20 World Cup. And it took Tite a long time and a lot of love to establish himself on the senior side.

Philippe Coutinho’s club issue must be resolved if he wants to play for Brazil in the World Cup. Getty Images/BUDA MENDES/POOL/AFP

Internazionale had a long-standing connection with him, having signed him from Vasco da Gama long before they were able to bring him to Italy. Inter Milan practically gave up on him in the end, selling him to Liverpool for a laughable £8.5 million. Until now, his potential had only blossomed in one place: a loan stint at Espanyol, where coach Mauricio Pochettino, in his distinctive flair, managed to tease the brilliance out of him. Liverpool learnt their lesson, treated him with affection, and, despite their reluctance to let him go, generated a tremendous profit, allowing them to fund their own transfer market visits.

With Messi’s departure, Coutinho may have one final opportunity to make his Barcelona transfer a success. After all, he might now play at the position he prefers. However, it’s possible that there’s been too much bad blood. Barcelona was known to be keen to sell its high-priced purchase, and this has not created a climate favorable to Coutinho’s return. He has the option of extending his contract. For a long time, he looked resigned to doing so. However, the World Cup, which will take place at the conclusion of this year, will alter everything. He’ll be 34 in 2026, thus it’ll most likely be his last. Tite was sending him a message with that phone call in November.

He could not be a part of the first team right now. Lucas Paqueta of Lyon has certainly surpassed him as Brazil’s primary offensive midfielder. However, he still has a shot. And World Cup history is littered with instances of players who did not expect to see much action but ended up becoming heroes. So it seems more probable that Barcelona will be able to get him off their payroll and that Coutinho will be able to play football somewhere, even if just on loan.

But where are you going? Flamengo, a Rio de Janeiro behemoth, has been mentioned as a possible replacement, but it is doubtful. Paulo Sousa, the new coach, seems to be more interested in bolstering his defensive resources, making England the most likely destination. Premier League teams have the financial resources as well as the memories of Coutinho at his finest. According to ESPN, up to five English Premier League teams have indicated interest in taking him on loan.

Newly wealthy Newcastle United may be interested, and an Everton offer would make sense since the club is under pressure and Coutinho is familiar with the city. Arsenal has a relation to Edu Gaspar. The club’s technical director is a former midfielder who had a similar position with Brazil while Coutinho was at his peak.

The connection between Coutinho and Aston Villa is possibly the most fascinating piece of rumor. Coutinho’s former Liverpool teammate and current Villa manager, Steven Gerrard, has firsthand experience of what he can accomplish and how to get the most out of him. Furthermore, with the move of Jack Grealish to Manchester City, Villa’s offensive midfield spots might need a boost. This seems to be a move that checks all the boxes. The Villa coach is familiar with the player, the club needs the player, and the player must shine in order to get his career back on track and qualify for the World Cup.

The focus then shifts to Birmingham, where Coutinho may find the Bull Ring (a local retail mall) more appealing than the one in Barcelona.

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