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When Aston Villa chased Philippe Coutinho

Villa were a good bid away from signing the tricky Brazilian back in 2013. Oh.

New Barcelona Signing Philippe Coutinho Unveiled Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Oh, how the times have changed. After Barcelona completed the signing of Liverpool’s Phillipe Coutinho, the clock was turned back for Villa fans who recalled that AVFC were once chasing Coutinho in a bid to stave off relegation from the Premier League under Paul Lambert.

Lambert was a savvy buyer for Villa, but a Coutinho deal proved to be too much for the club, who were unwilling to stump up a fee of over £10 million for the attacking midfielder. It seems like pocket change compared to the £142 million that he would go for not five years later.

Aston Villa definitely made an enquiry though, but were seemingly priced out. We reported on it at the time:

“This is certainly the most legitimate-seeming transfer rumour to this point in the transfer window, but it’s still a long way from looking imminent. The quotes from the player’s agent did not convey a real sense that things are especially far along, and even if there was an agreement in place there’s some question as to whether Coutinho would be eligible for a work permit. And perhaps most importantly, he’d have to be convinced that the move is a positive one for his career (or at the very least his bank account.) If Gaston Ramirez can be compelled to join Southampton there’s little reason to believe Coutinho couldn’t be convinced to move to Aston Villa, but Paul Lambert would likely have to make quite the sales pitch.”

So yeah, it was a thing and since ‘Phil’ is moving to one of the biggest clubs in the world, it’s pretty to neat to know that we were once in for him. On reflection, it’s also a little sad. What could have been, eh?

It’s just more and more evidence that Villa could have been saved, but instead were doomed to slide down the table. Lambert and his team were clearly chasing players of real quality, but weren’t backed in the manner that meant they could ever seal the deal. Even £20 million would have been pennies for a player who would possibly changed Villa’s future.

Oh well. Back to the Championship.