Philippe Coutinho’s Potential Reunion with Lionel Messi at Inter Miami, Amidst Interest from MLS Rivals LA Galaxy, as Aston Villa Excludes Brazil Star from Unai Emery’s Plans

Philippe Coutinho could reunite with Lionel Messi at Inter Miami as the forward ‘doesn’t feature’ in Unai Emery‘s plans at Aston Villa following a loan spell in Qatar.

The 31-year-old Brazilian temporarily joined QSL club Al-Duhail in September, and scored on his debut in a 2-1 away victory over Al-Markhiya, but has only gone onto score another goal in a total of six appearances across a timespan of four months.

He’s now set to return to the Midlands this month, but Emery and club executives at Villa are apparently looking for another way to ship out the player in the form of a loan or a transfer.

 

There is especially talk about Coutinho playing in Major League Soccer, and specifically at clubs like Miami or L.A. Galaxy, according to Spanish publication AS.

Considered as the most expensive January signing of all time after his £142million transfer to Barcelona in 2018, Coutinho has not been able to kick-on in his career since the move, six years ago.

The 31-year-old Brazilian would play with Lionel Messi again if he joins Inter Miami this month

Coutinho has struggled for action since Unai Emery took over from Steven Gerrard in Oct. ’22

He was loaned out to Bayern Munich for the 2019-2020 season, and even though he enjoyed a successful spell in Bavaria by scoring eight goals in 23 appearances and lifting a Champions League trophy there, the Bavarians didn’t activate the option to sign the player on a permanent contract in the summer of 2020 for €120M euros.

Coutinho then returned to Barcelona in August of that year after the arrival of new coach Ronald Koeman, but suffered a serious knee injury in December, missing the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Signed on loan by former Aston Villa manager and close friend, Steven Gerrard, in January 2022, Coutinho made his stay at Villa Park permanent for an undisclosed fee, reported to be £17m, on a four-year contract after scoring five goals in 21 appearances in the second half of the 2021-22 season.

But after Gerrard’s dismissal in October 2022, Coutinho has quickly found himself falling down the pecking order in attack under Emery, as he was only involved in 20 matches out of a possible 38 in the Premier League last season, scoring once.

Coutinho, whose elite vision and passing ability earned him the nickname ‘The Little Magician’ back in his homeland, could not only play alongside Messi again in Miami, but also former Barcelona and Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez, who signed with the Herons for the 2024-25 season in December.

Coutinho would also be reunited with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, formerly of Barcelona, too.

In Los Angeles, the attacking midfielder, who can also play on the wing, would be sharing the same pitch with ex-Barcelona teammate, Riqui Puig.

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