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Steven Gerrard: Philippe Coutinho signing can attract other big names to Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard believes the signing of Philippe Coutinho will make Villa more attractive to prospective transfer targets this summer.

Philippe Coutinho.
Philippe Coutinho.

Coutinho this week sealed a permanent switch to the Midlands from Barcelona, taking a significant drop in salary to sign a four-year contract.

Gerrard reckons having the Brazil international on board strengthens his hand going into an important summer window.

He said: “I’ve only experienced one window at Aston Villa but I remember sitting down with Lucas Digne and him saying: ‘What’s happening with Coutinho?’ and vice-versa.

“Good players ask questions about good players.

“They want to know who they are going to be playing with. They want to play with good players but they also want to know: ‘Who’s going to be with me, who’s going to be helping me?’

“If we are going to take this journey forward, if we are going to achieve things, they want to know they are going to be doing it with good players. That’s the way it is.”

Coutinho, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool for £142million in 2018, has joined Villa for just £17.2m while dropping his salary by more than 70 per cent to £125,000-a-week, with Gerrard admitting the deal was too good for the club to turn down.

He believes the 29-year-old will benefit from the stability of knowing where his future lies and a full pre-season.

In addition to wanting Coutinho to become a leader in the dressing room, Gerrard thinks he will be a positive influence on Villa’s exciting crop of young players.

He said: “Phil’s very approachable. Our office looks down on the gym and the young players are always in his ear. Jacob (Ramsey), Tim (Iroegbunam), Carney (Chukwuemeka, little young Tommy (O’Reilly).

“I see him and he’s always got time for them all. H’s very approachable, he’s a very humble kid, he wants to help, he wants to provide support. He’s been there himself.

“They should be tapping into his knowledge and his experiences all the time, not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well.

“He’s a standard setter. He comes in and he’s into his routine. He’s a football man, a family man.

“He’s first on the training pitch, he’s last off, he’s in the gym before training, he’s in the gym after training, his diet is immaculate.

“If you’re a young kid at Aston Villa you should be really tapping into that and really trying to emulate a lot of his habits.”

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