Coutinho signing boosts Aston Villa hopes of land top Gerrard defensive target

Coutinho signing boosts Aston Villa hopes of land top Gerrard defensive target

Aston Villa have reportedly boosted their chances of signing Everton left-back Lucas Digne by completing the high-profile capture of Philippe Coutinho.

Digne has been left out in the cold at Goodison Park after a row with Toffees boss Rafa Benitez prior to the 2-1 home win over Arsenal back in December. Indeed, the France star was missing from the squad again as Everton struggled past Hull in the FA Cup on Saturday evening.

Benitez has also already landed his replacement in the form of Ukrainian left-back Vitaliy Mykolenko. That has seemingly opened the door for Digne to move on this month, with several suitors keen.

Chelsea have been tipped to make a move after losing Ben Chilwell for the rest of the season. Newcastle, meanwhile, are also on the hunt for a left-back after sealing Kieran Trippier’s Premier League return.

But according to talkSPORT journalist Alex Crook, Villa boss Steven Gerrard wants Digne to provide competition Matt Targett.

Crook claims that, although Digne prefers a move to London, the fact that Villa landed Coutinho might just lure the defender to Villa Park instead.

He told talkSPORT: “They [Villa] want a left-back as well. And I’m told they’re one of a growing number of clubs tracking Everton’s Lucas Digne.

“At the moment, his preference appears to be London. But just maybe, the arrival of a stellar name like Coutinho might convince Lucas Digne that maybe Aston Villa is an attractive proposition.”

Villa announced the rather surprising signing of the former Liverpool man on Friday. The 29-year-old is still considered a top talent despite struggling to replicate the form he showed at Anfield in Barcelona.

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Coutinho a perfect Grealish replacement 

Coutinho has signed until the end of the season with a view to a permanent £33m switch.

And talkSPORT pundit Simon Jordan believes Villa mat have done a great piece of business.

He said: “If he’s 75 per cent of what he was at Liverpool, it’s a great signing.

“If he’s less than that then you’re moving into the territory of, ‘it looks good on paper but will it become a productive outcome?’

“But I think in terms of replacing a Jack Grealish sort-of creative, quality on the ball figure, I think Villa fans will be very excited by it.”

READ MORE: Pundit fires Coutinho warning to Aston Villa in Liverpool comparison after rating transfer

Source: Transfer News – TEAMtalk

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