Coutinho transfer to Aston Villa marks end of Barcelona’s error

It’s the end of an error.

One of the most dispiriting stints for any player at any club in football history technically and officially concluded on Thursday with confirmation that, nearly four-and-a-half years after joining Barcelona for an initial £105 million fee (£142 million with add -ons), Philippe Coutinho has moved to Aston Villa on a permanent transfer for a relatively paltry £15 million ($21 million) after excelling on loan this winter and spring. Through no great fault of his own, the Brazilian has come to symbolize the calamitousness of Barcelona’s post-Neymar years, and it feels as though his departure is a vital part of Xavi’s process of renewal.

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