Philippe Coutinho takes 70 per cent pay cut in permanent move to Aston Villa

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Philippe Coutinho - - PA
Philippe Coutinho - - PA

Philippe Coutinho has accepted a wage cut of over 70 per cent to complete his £17million return to the Premier League with Aston Villa.

Coutinho has completed a permanent move to join Steven Gerrard's squad, signing a four-year deal worth around £125,000 a week to end his difficult spell at Barcelona, which was announced at Villa's end-of-season awards dinner.

The Brazil international initially signed on loan in January and Gerrard has pushed to make his former Liverpool team-mate a priority recruit ahead of a summer overhaul.

Coutinho was earning over £470,000 a week before tax with Barcelona, but was so determined for a return to English football that he agreed a significant drop on his salary with the La Liga club, who he joined from Liverpool for £142m in January 2018.

Gerrard said: “This is a brilliant signing for Aston Villa. Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January.

“With the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, he’s also a valuable role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his experience.

“As we look to build towards next season, it is incredible to work at a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly."

Gerrard is preparing for a major revamp of his squad this summer, with Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips his leading target.

Brighton's Yves Bissouma is also on Villa's radar, after a £25m offer was rejected in the first week of the January transfer window, and the Mali international is widely expected to leave the club.

Villa are also targeting a new left-back to provide competition for £25m defender Lucas Digne, with Rangers' Calvin Bassey and Bologna's Aaron Hickey under consideration.

Ashley Young and Carney Chukwuemeka have also been offered new contracts.

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