January Transfer Window News: Aston Villa
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January Transfer Window News: Aston Villa

Following Aston Villa’s promising 11th-placed finish in 2020-21, seven points off a Europa Conference League position, there was a clear sense of expectancy ahead of this season. Despite losing star man Jack Grealish to Manchester City in the summer, the fee generated allowed Villa to reinvest in the squad, bringing in Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings. However, 2021-22 has not gone as well as Villa would have hoped, and head coach Dean Smith was sacked in November after mustering just 10 points from 11 Premier League games. Smith was replaced by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who has guided the club to 12 points from his eight league games in charge, lifting them to 13th in the table. Where will Steven Gerrard be looking to improve his squad in the January Transfer Window.


Cover At Full-Back

Of the four league losses suffered under Gerrard, three were to the title-chasing trio of City, Liverpool and Chelsea. 

However, it is Villa’s most recent 2-1 defeat against newly-promoted Brentford that encapsulates the need for reinforcements in the January transfer window.

"It's not going to be wholesale, but there are opportunities to strengthen," Gerrard said after the game.

The most obvious area in which Villa are short of numbers is at full-back. Matty Cash and Matt Targett have been virtual ever-presents this season, but their only cover comes in the form of Ashley Young, 36.

Nicolas Tagliafico and Aaron Hickey Options

Gerrard has reportedly decided to add a left-footed player to bolster this position, providing an alternative to the right-footed Young. 

There have been links to Everton’s Lucas Digne – who has fallen out with manager Rafa Benitez – as well as Ajax’s Nicolas Tagliafico and Bologna’s Aaron Hickey.

Reports have also suggested that the former Rangers manager could return to his old club for set-piece specialist Borna Barisic.

A right-sided central defender could also be necessary after Axel Tuanzebe was recalled by Manchester United over concerns about his playing time, with a fresh loan to Napoli on the cards.

Nathaniel Phillips From Liverpool?

Gerrard’s obvious association with Liverpool could create an opportunity for Villa to land Nathaniel Phillips from the Reds, with the centre-back surplus to requirements and looking for a move.

Phillips, 24, has been sidelined since fracturing his cheekbone against AC Milan on December 7, but is expected to return later in January and would primarily be signed as cover for Ezri Konsa.

Elsewhere, Villa are not short of bodies but a long-term layoff for Marvelous Nakamba – who is unlikely to return until March or April – means a combative midfielder will be on the wishlist.

Wide Options A Focus

Additionally, Gerrard appears largely unimpressed with the wide options available to him outside of summer signings Buendia and Bailey.

Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet are reportedly available for loan, with the latter joining Bertrand Traore in having departed for international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations.

With Bailey suffering from a short-term injury, an injection of quality in the wide or attacking midfield areas looks to be a possibility.

A shock move for Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho does not seem likely, despite the speculation created by the Brazilian’s time as Gerrard’s team-mate on Merseyside.

However, Gerrard could be tempted by another Rangers player instead, with Ryan Kent, 25, tipped to move south of the border and link up with his old boss once more.




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V: 1.37.0 All rights reserved. August 2021