Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Aston Villa striker to make way as Steven Gerrard eyes the big Arsenal prize

Arsenal strike duo Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah

Steven Gerrard has held ‘conversations’ about upgrading his striker corps, and a report has revealed Aston Villa are mulling an Arsenal raid for Eddie Nketiah.

Gerrard has already made an impression in the transfer market this month. His prior Liverpool connections are believed to have played a major part in Villa’s ability to land Philippe Coutinho on loan. The Brazilian was quickly joined by France international Lucas Digne in a £25m move from Everton.

The pair walked straight into Villa’s starting line-up at the weekend and both impressed as Gerrard’s men roared back to snatch a 2-2 draw against Manchester United.

Gerrard then bolstered his goalkeeping ranks when signing Sweden international Robin Olsen on loan from Roma. Olsen maintained the trend of signings who have Premier League experience via his loan stint at Everton last season.

However, according to the Birmingham Mail (citing the Athletic), the comings and goings won’t stop there.

The outlet state adding a new centre-back and defensive midfielder are Gerrard’s ‘priorities’ this month. However, ‘conversations’ have also been held regarding a new burst of firepower.

Aston Villa plotting Eddie Nketiah raid

As such, Villa are continuing their trend of targeting Premier League-ready players by ‘considering’ a move for Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah.

The 22-year-old’s deal in north London runs out in the summer, meaning he is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with overseas clubs right now.

A move within the Premier League appears far more likely, however. Brighton and Crystal Palace have been linked but progress on both fronts has stalled.

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Mikel Arteta has publicly stated he expects to keep Nketiah for the remainder of his contract.

However, the offer of hard cash this month could yet prompt a U-turn. And with Arsenal hot on the heels of Dusan Vlahovic, an Nketiah exit would free up both funds and squad space for the free-scoring Serbian.

At present, any potential deal appears very much in its infancy. However, should an agreement be struck over the next 11 days, Villa’s Cameron Archer could then make way.

Cameron Archer Aston Villa

The Birmingham Mail state the 20-year-old is attracting widespread interest from a number of Championship clubs eyeing a loan move.

With Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings already on the books, Nketiah’s arrival would give Gerrard plenty to choose from and free up Archer for a loan spell away.

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Meanwhile, Aston Villa are set to loan out prized starlet Jaden Philogene-Bidace and we understand Stoke City are set to win the race to land him.

The 19-year-old midfielder is considered one of the best prospects in the Premier League. Steven Gerrard had been considering whether to introduce him into his squad for the remainder of the season. But with Philippe Coutinho’s recent arrival, he is now able to consider a loan for the creative teenager.

It is understood Gerrard himself has been studying the options, which are plentiful. Almost every promotion-chasing team in the Championship has registered their interest in taking the player. There were also clubs in Belgium and France keen to take him.

However, we understand that Stoke have emerged as the most likely landing spot, with Gerrard impressed by Michael O’Neill and his plans.

Gerrard also likes O’Neill’s work with a number of younger players. Therefore, he is ready to let one of his prized assets move to the Potters until season’s end.

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