Aston Villa were looking safe from any fears of relegation after Christmas. Steven Gerrard’s arrival saw the side ride the ‘new manager bounce’, with a greatly improved run of form to that seen under his predecessor, Dean Smith.
With an eight-point gap currently separating them from the bottm three, the threat of relegation isn’t great, but four losses and one draw in the past five games is still a run of form to be concerned about.
A 4-0 loss to Tottenham two weeks ago signalled what can only be described as a severe low point in Villa’s tail-end of the 2021/22 campaign.
With six games left, Gerrard will look to rally his troops and bring back the magic that was seen back in December.
As the squad prepares for their final games of the season, Gerrard will also be looking ahead to the summer transfer window and eyeing up how best he can strengthen his side.
Gerrard hopeful of signing title winning midfielder
Gerrard has been looking for a new midfielder ahead of next season and reportedly took a trip to France in pursuit of one.
Boubacar Kamara is one on the list, but as the Marseille star will be readily available this summer, it is likely Aston Villa will have to face off a lot of competition if they are to secure his services.
It has also been reported that Gerrard is looking into Atletico Madrid’s Geoffrey Kondogbia. The Italian journalist Rudy Galetti took to twitter to claim that Villa ‘are interested in him’ because the Villa boss ‘appreciates the midfielder a lot’ after watching his side play Manchester City in this year’s Champions League.
However, Galetti has also pointed out that “Kondogbia will stay at Atletico Madrid unless a huge offer comes in”.
So while Gerrard may hope for both of Marseille and Atletico’s midfield stars, he will have to be prepared to offer up far more resources than he would like.
Villa in talks with Hearts youngster
The Mail Online have reported that Aston Villa are currently in talks with Scotland’s promising young midfielder Ewan Simpson.
The 15-year-old currently plays for Hearts U18s and the Scotland youth team, but Gerrard is hoping to bring Simpson south of the border for next season.
Simpson was most recently part of the squad that reached the Scottish FA Youth Cup final.
This would not be the first time Villa have looked at the Scottish youngsters coming up the ranks, after signing Dundee United’s Kerr Smith last year.
Focus on the recruitment of young Scots has become much more prominent in the recent months with Liverpool signing Celtic’ Ben Doak for £600,000 last week, and Manchester City and Newcastle homing in on Rangers’ midfielder Alex Lowry.
If Villa do make the transfer, Hearts will be entitled to compensation but all figures and possible salaries are as yet unknown.
Young keen to extend contract
Ex-England full-back Ashley Young is hopeful of extending his contract for another year. The 36-year-old’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the season but the part-time winger is reportedly keen to remain where he is for the time being, according to The Times.
Moving from Inter Milan last summer, Young has made 22 Premier League appearances, including ten starts and was most recently involved in Villa’s crucial draw against Leicester City where they were able to keep a clean sheet.
Last month, his manager and former England teammate said: “I’ve made it clear to Ash that I want him to stay around. The key to this will always be the player.
“He has to be happy, want to stay, negotiate and have people connect to the club. There’s still a lot to discuss and there’s no rush but I’ll make it clear that we’re very happy with him.”