Notebook: Aston Villa pay Barcelona to keep Coutinho, Aguero statue, Nice fans condemned for Sala chants, more

There are rarely any quiet weeks in European soccer, and this was no exception with Erling Haaland joining Manchester City arguably the major event while several other significant stories might have crept by unnoticed. We are here to make sure that you did not miss a thing.

Our picks.

Coutinho’s new home

Philippe Coutinho has joined Aston Villa on a permanent deal from Barcelona. The 29-year-old Brazil international arrived on loan back in January and has now signed a contract until 2026 after Steven Gerrard’s men stumped up almost $ 21 million for his signature.

“This is a brilliant signing for Villa,” said Gerrard. “Phil is a professional model and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January. As we look to build towards next season, it is incredible to work at a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly.”

Why it matters: Coutinho has four goals and three assists so far, but arguably the most interesting is that Villa gets such a talented player at a massive discount after his near $ 173 million move from Liverpool to Barca back in 2018.

Lyon keep Caqueret

Olympique Lyonnais have announced that Maxence Caqueret has extended his contract with the club until 2026. His contract was due to expire at the end of next season, but OL have moved quickly to tie him down ahead of a summer rebuild.

Why it matters: Caqueret was earmarked by many of Europe’s biggest clubs as a potential catch from a Lyon side in stagnation and this deal now makes it likely that it will be the face of a new-look Gones side with a potential captain role in the offing.

King Kun

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Manchester City have paid tribute to club legend Sergio Aguero with a statue of him to mark the 10th anniversary of their first Premier League title. The Etihad Stadium sculpture captures Aguero’s injury time goal to seal the 2011-12 success.

“It was the best moment of my life,” said the Argentine. “For me that moment changed my life, changed the club and everything. That moment will always be in my heart.”

Why it matters: Given the way Aguero was cruelly forced to retire, it is a nice gesture from City to ensure that he goes down as one of their modern legends and is remembered for helping to usher in a period of dominance.

Palermo next under CFG?

Manchester City ownership were recently in Palermo to complete City Football Group’s takeover of the former Serie A side. Now in the Italian third tier, Corriere della Sera say that CFG have been ironing out the finer points of the deal. It is expected to cost City around $ 8.5 million for 80% of the club.

Why it matters: Given Palermo’s history and possible promotion to Serie B, this is another worrying example of club with strong regional identity and pedigree being picked off at a vulnerable moment and then turned into just part of CFG’s stable. Clubs such as NAC Breda in the Netherlands and Red Star in Paris with 777 have been resisting this sort of collaboration with mixed results as the French club’s takeover was forced through this week.

Nice fans condemned for sick Sala chants

OGC Nice are expected to be sanctioned after sections of their support were guilty of offensive chants regarding the late Emiliano Sala this midweek. They were heard singing about the Argentine’s death during a win over AS Saint-Etienne just days after losing the Coupe de France final to FC Nantes. Bans and fines are expected ahead of the start of the 2022-23 season and the club and coach Christophe Galtier swiftly condemned the chants.

Why it matters: Nice fans have been problematic this season with their behavior forcing their home clash with Olympique de Marseille to be abandoned and they also took a unique stance in the wake of Galtier and the club’s actions in hitting back at them for speaking ill of Les Aiglons’ fanbase .

More German business

It has been another busy week in Germany with Borussia Dortmund moving to secure Erling Haaland’s replacement in the form of Karim Adeyemi from Red Bull Sazlburg and Mainz 05 selling Jeremiah St. Juste to Sporting CP and then bringing in Dominik Kohr from Eintracht Frankfurt.

“It is similar here to in Salzburg when I joined the team,” he said. “Coincidently, it was Erling here again. I think I am a different player to Erling. You can not compare us. In general, I would not say that I feel any pressure. I just want to help the team and I am looking forward to the task in Dortmund. “

Why it matters: Haaland will be a tough act to follow for Adeyemi, but it is something that he has already done, and the Red Bull link is also beneficial if Marco Rose remains in charge. St. Juste and Kohr are just two more examples of how German clubs get in early to do their business and regular source a replacement in advance.

Griezmann’s former advisor investigated

Antoine Griezmann’s former advisor Eric Olhats was taken into police custody as part of an investigation into sexual assault on underage players. Per L’Equipe, the former advisor was the subject of prior reports over inappropriate behavior and a formal complaint over rape.

Why it matters: Olhats took Griezmann to Spain with Real Sociedad and is another example of somebody using their influence to take advantage of young players which the game is trying desperately to stamp out.

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