Philippe Coutinho set for new club after former Liverpool star takes drastic pay cut

Philippe Coutinho celebrates after scoring for Al-Duhail
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Former Liverpool winger Philippe Coutinho is on the verge of sealing a sensational return to Vasco da Gama after agreeing to a substantial salary cut to leave Aston Villa.

Coutinho, 32, joined Villa from Barcelona for £17million in May 2022 after spending six months on loan in the West Midlands. He emerged as a regular under Steven Gerrard and even continued to be involved when Unai Emery arrived, though the Brazilian was allowed to leave the club last summer.

He spent last season on loan at Qatar Stars League side Al-Duhail, scoring eight goals and adding three assists in 23 appearances. And now, Coutinho is set for a permanent exit from Villa with the club expected to terminate his contract to allow him to move to Vasco da Gama in Brazil, according to Globo.

Coutinho came through the academy system at Vasco before moving to Inter Milan in 2008. He later spent two years on loan at Vasco but returned to Inter and broke into the first-team. He struggled to establish himself as a regular at Inter, however, and joined Liverpool for £8.5m in January 2013. It proved to be a masterstroke.

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He immediately cemented his place as an integral member of the Reds side, and almost helped them win the Premier League during his first full season, scoring five goals and providing seven assists in 33 matches. His numbers slowly started to improve as years went on, however.

When Jurgen Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers, there were some fears about how Coutinho could be used, but the German managed to fit the Brazilian in. In fact, Coutinho took his game to the very next level and became one of the most touted players in world football. In 2016/17, he struck 14 goals and nine assists in 36 games.

And having registered 12 goals and nine assists in 20 appearances at the start of 2017/18 season, Coutinho appeared to be on his way out of Anfield. He secured a £142million move to Barcelona in January 2018, signalling one of the most expensive transfers of all time. His move to Barcelona did not go to plan, though.

Coutinho struggled to win over the Barcelona fans and even went out on loan to Bayern Munich for 2019/20 after struggling for regular game time. Coutinho is now set for a return to Vasco with his reported £125,000 contract being terminated, with him set for a drastic pay cut in the process.