News from Spain: Official: Philippe Coutinho leaves Barcelona for Aston Villa

After four-and-a-half fraught years, Barcelona have sold Philippe Coutinho to Aston Villa.

The Brazilian never quite worked in the move that was supposed to mark a change in eras at Barcelona. It was intended to usher in the transition from Andres Iniestas Barcelona, but in the end, ended up being part of a destructive spell at Camp Nou.

Joining in January of 2018 for a fee of 135m + 25m in add-ons, he leaves for a 20m to Aston Villa, where he has been on loan since January this year. This was confirmed by both Barcelona and Aston Villa on Thursday evening. The Catalans will also receive 50% of any future fee. That was his second loan spell, having been on loan at Bayern Munich for the 2019-20 season.

Of course, the price tag was never Coutinhos fault, but it did weigh heavily on his time at Barcelona. Between injuries and the chaotic management of the club in recent years, he had it difficult to make the desired impact on the pitch. Yet theres little doubt that Coutinho also failed to impose himself on his new team, rarely featuring as a guaranteed starter beyond his first six months. In total, he made 106 appearances for the Blaugrana and scored 26 goals.

For Barcelona themselves, the sale is a large loss, but allows the club to remove his large wages from their books and continue to rebuild their squad in this summer. Their critics will be out in force, but its another problem that Joan Laporta can pass the blame for to former President Josep Maria Bartomeu.

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