Paul Merson has urged Aston Villa to do everything in their power to sign Philippe Coutinho permanently in the summer after his impressive displays on loan from Barcelona.

When Villa snapped up Coutinho in January, there were some doubts over whether the Brazilian was still the same player who shone in the Premier League with Liverpool, given his struggles at the Camp Nou over recent years.

However, the 29-year-old has hit the ground running at Villa Park and has shown he still possesses the attributes that made him one of the best attacking midfielders in world football during his time at Anfield.

Coutinho was linked with a move to Spurs during the January transfer window (El Nacional) before he joined Aston Villa.

Sport suggested recently that the North Londoners could make a move for the midfielder in the summer on the back of his impressive displays at Villa.

However, Merson believes that Steven Gerrard’s men have the financial might to win the race for Coutinho.

The former Arsenal midfielder told  Sky Sports News (12/03/22 at 2 pm): “He’s (Coutinho) had a bit of a bad time since he has left Liverpool. He is absolutely loving it. Playing free-flowing football. 

“He’s a proper player and has great vision. I think he’s a special player. Villa have to try and sign him at the end of the season. I think he’s going to be a massive hit. He’s top draw.

“If he keeps doing what he is doing, then he will be in the Brazil squad because if he doesn’t get into the Brazil squad there is pointless anybody else going because they must be the best team in the world.

“If his contract isn’t up then they (Barcelona) will do a deal and they will make sure he gets subsidised for some of his wages. 

“He’ll get looked after. They’ll be desperate to get rid. Pay £200-300k of his wages. Then Villa can afford £200k, especially for a player like that. You have to keep him. He is a superstar.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I would expect plenty of clubs from across the Premier League to show an interest in Coutinho during the summer. I am not sure if Spurs will get involved in a bidding war for the Brazilian but I would be surprised if the 29-year-old stayed at Villa Park as he is likely to have a lot of better options to choose from at the end of the season. 

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