Philippe Coutinho And Lucas Digne Could Push Aston Villa Into Europe

Philippe Coutinho And Lucas Digne Could Push Aston Villa Into Europe
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If we told you that only Norwich and Watford have lost more games than Aston Villa this season, we wouldn’t blame you for being surprised. With a record like that, it’s no wonder the best betting sites have them as high as 20/1 to score a top six finish in the Premier League.

The Villans endured a woeful start to the campaign that saw them lose seven league games up until the middle of November and that was enough to bring about the end of Dean Smith’s three-year managerial reign over the club he had supported all his life. That led Aston Villa’s hierarchy to look north of the border for a replacement.

Then Rangers manager Steven Gerrard was the man they turned too, and it was easy to see why they came to that decision. Gerrard certainly didn’t lack for Premier League experience, having played in the competition over 500 times for Liverpool and he had just won the Scottish Premiership as a manager with The Gers - the club’s first title in a decade.

With a new manager secured, Villa have turned their attention to the playing squad since the January transfer window opened and you can’t help but be impressed with what they have done so far.

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Firstly, Philippe Coutinho arrived from Barcelona on loan, with an option to buy the Brazilian attacker at the end of the season. Coutinho netted 42 goals in a six-season spell at Liverpool, and he told Aston Villa’s club website that his "admiration" for Gerrard led to him to sign for the Birmingham-based outfit.

Coutinho was swiftly followed through the door by left-back Lucas Digne, who had fallen out of favourite at Everton with Rafael Benitez. Digne offers even more experience to a young Villa squad having won league titles and domestic cups in France and Spain, so you would have to admit he is also a very decent capture for Gerrard.

Villa don’t appear to be done in the market yet either, with reports suggesting they are ready to smash their transfer record to bring in Yves Bissouma from Brighton. Meanwhile, The Lions are also favourites on football betting sites to sign Ryan Kent, who Gerrard oversaw during his time in Glasgow.

If the Villa were to pull off either of the signings mentioned above, they would have to be admired for one of the best January recruitment operations a club at their level has ever pulled off. It would also put them in prime position for a tilt at European football next season, and maybe, just maybe, they could even pull it off this term.

Aston Villa Move Makes Perfect Sense For Philippe Coutinho

After warming the Barcelona bench for the vast majority of his time in Spain, Coutinho was in need of a new challenge and one man who knows exactly what life is like at the Nou Camp is Emmanuel Petit.

The French World Cup winner spent a season at Barcelona before moving on to Chelsea in 2001 and he feels Coutinho made the right choice to leave the Spanish giants to link up with his former teammate.

“Steven Gerrard was a huge factor in the discussions to bring Philippe Coutinho to Aston Villa,” Petit told

“The relationship he had with Coutinho during their spell at Liverpool together made a huge difference when it came to getting the player to agree to come. Gerrard is a legend, and he was a great player. Given that he used to play with him, he knows the quality Coutinho has.

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“The problem with Coutinho now is not his quality, it is that he needs to get back the love for the game. I'm pretty sure that the Premier League has all the ingredients he needs to find that again, and Steven Gerrard can get the best out of him.

“With the young players Aston Villa have in their team and the passion of the fans there, I believe it all could be the perfect match for Coutinho to get back to his best. When I saw that he was about to sign for Aston Villa I thought, 'that could be a hit!'”

Digne Was Right To Get Out Of Everton

Lucas Digne had been one of Everton's star performers since he arrived in 2018 up until this season, when he found himself a bit-part player under new boss Rafa Benitez.

His exit to Aston Villa should be a big boost for his French national team chances, as the country is amongst the favourites in the 2022 World Cup betting. When asked about Digne, Petit was a little bewildered as to what went on behind the scenes at the embattled Merseyside club.

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He said: “What was the problem between Rafael Benitez and Lucas Digne? He was one of the best left backs in the Premier League last season. I just don't get it!”

“When I watch Everton, I am very frustrated because I had high hopes for this team at the beginning of the season.

“But, they really don't have the depth on the bench and when three or four players are out for them, all of a sudden they are average. On top of that, you have some of the best players struggling with the manager.”

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