Philippe Coutinho talks confirmed as former Liverpool star plans transfer return amid 'FSG deal'

Philippe Coutinho of Al Duhail celebrates after scoring goal against  Al-Nassr during AFC Champions League match between Al Duhail and Al-Nassr at Khalifa International Stadium on November 7, 2023 in Doha, Qatar.
Philippe Coutinho of Al Duhail -Credit:Photo by Mohamed Farag/Getty Images

Liverpool’s former midfield star Philippe Coutinho could be returning to his boyhood club Vasco da Gama. The 31-year-old has spent the season on loan with Al-Duhail in Qatar, with parent club Aston Villa showing no interest in utilizing the Brazilian’s talents.

That’s according to Globo (via Anfield Watch), who has reported that Villa would be happy to cancel Coutinho’s contract in order to enable the move to happen. Per FBRef, the former Red earns $8.3m (£6.5m/€7.6m) a year, and is under contract until 2026, so writing off his deal would not be cheap.

Vasco president Pedrinho was recently asked if talks were taking place with Coutinho’s camp and replied: “it’s happening.” The Brazilian international could as a result indirectly soon become part of the Liverpool family once more.

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The sale of Coutinho to Barcelona in 2018 enabled the Reds to acquire two key players, with his $180.3m (£142m/€165.9m) transfer fee helping to pay for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker. The Brazilian’s career failed to hit the heights that he reached at Anfield though.

Granted, he did win trophies with Barcelona and Bayern Munich but never felt like a truly key player. After making 96 goal contributions for Liverpool, Coutinho has only delivered 68 in European club football since, and that after becoming one of the most expensive players in the history of the sport.

With six goals and three assists in 22 appearances for Al-Duhail, Coutinho isn’t tearing up Qatari football either. A return to his homeland could be what he needs to enjoy the final years of his career.

The ownership of Vasco could be changing hands soon too. 777 Partners, linked with a takeover at Everton, had their control of Vasco passed back to club directors by Brazilian courts earlier this week.

It has been claimed by Globo that FSG is exploring the possibility of buying Vasco and has conducted its due diligence ahead of the potential purchase. With Liverpool’s owners looking to start up a multi-club model, securing Coutinho’s boyhood club would give the project a foothold in South America. says: As sad as it is to say, it would appear that Coutinho’s career in European football is over. Unwanted by Unai Emery at Villa and not leaving too great an impression in Qatar, it would make sense for him to return to Brazil where he would be adored. He is likely already loved by FSG after his sale from Liverpool and it could be that he will soon be playing for one of its clubs once more.