Aston Villa have made a ‘massive statement’ by withdrawing the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho, according to Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira.
The 29-year-old was officially confirmed as a Villa player on Thursday night after spending the last five months on loan from Barcelona since signing in the January transfer window. Coutinho has scored four goals and assisted three more since returning to the Premier League.
None of those, however, have come in the past two months of action in burgundy and blue, but Palace could be the perfect place to rediscover that form. The Brazil international was last on the scoresheet against the Eagles in April 2017 when he was with Liverpool, scoring the opener straight from a free-kick in an eventual 2-1 defeat at Anfield.
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Asked about Coutinho during the pre-match press conference, the Palace boss agreed with the piece of business. “It’s good,” Vieira said (via Football.London). “There are players in the team who I think have the quality to take Villa into another dimension. It’s a massive statement of what they will want to achieve in the future.
The 45-year-old manager has been full of praise for his counterpart Steven Gerrard since the former opponent’s arrival from Vieira’s midfield at Villa Park. “From the start, I think he had an impact on the way of organizing the team and he had very good results, added the boss of Palace. But you know, Villa, I think it is a big club in this country and I think it will be a big challenge. And I hope he succeeds. When you look at players we used to play against who have decided to become a coach, you wish all the best and hope he succeeds.”