Aston Villa are pushing hard to sign Georginio Wijnaldum this summer, with one observer claiming his signing will rocket Steven Gerrard’s side to the next level should he sign.
Villa have shown their intent in recent weeks with a string of impressive performances under Gerrard. Indeed, Thursday’s 3-0 triumph at Leeds saw the Villans make it three wins on the bounce. And in those games, they have scored nine times without conceding.
A big part of their recent improvement has been the addition of Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian has hit the ground running since signing on loan at Villa, scoring four times and assisting three more in just eight appearances.
Clearly Gerrard is getting his message across to his players and they will be expected to be among the big spenders in summer 2023. The former Rangers manager has big ambitions to take Villa to the next level – and will reportedly have around £100m to spend.
As a result, Villa are once again being linked with a move for Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips. The England man would likely cost a fee of around £50m, regardless of what division Leeds find themselves in.
However, Wijnaldum has also been touted as a potential target.
Wijnaldum left Liverpool as a free agent last summer, after his Anfield deal expired.
However, his move to PSG has not worked out as planned. Indeed, Wijnaldum has played in a variety of positions under Mauricio Pochettino, having a hard time in finding his best form.
As such, reports are indicating that Villa may let him leave for a fee of around £21m.
Wijnaldum a ‘leader’
Now former Aston Villa full-back Alan Hutton reckons a link-up with Coutinho in Villa’s midfield could be just the ticket for Gerrard.
“There’s no question that he is a fantastic player,” Hutton told Football Insider.
“It’s not quite worked for him at PSG but he’s been there, seen it and done it in the Premier League.
“He’s still got a lot to give. It’s a deal that Aston Villa can afford, obviously.
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“They could do with a player like that in the midfield. He’s creative, can make things happen and score goals. He’s a leader too.
“If you want to get to the next level these are the sorts of players you need in your football cub to raise the standards within.
“With Gerrard at the helm, he’s got that sway to get players in there so that would obviously help.”
Collymore wants Liverpool to re-sign Wijnaldum
Stan Collymore, meanwhile, insists Liverpool should look into the possibility of re-signing Wijnaldum.
“If Liverpool are serious then having Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum around that midfield for another 12 or 24 months could not only help Jones and Elliott but it would also crucially get an extra body into the area as well.
“He knows the way they play, he knows the manager well, he knows the dressing-room well, and if PSG would say, ‘Look, we’ll get him off the wage bill for free or even £5million or £8m’, you’d take him.
“He’s generally a good pro, he doesn’t create problems.”
Some Liverpool fans would question the wisdom in spending millions to re-sign a player they allowed to walk away. However, Collymore is adamant his return would only be a positive.
Collymore added: “I know some Liverpool fans were miffed that he decided to go for the dough. But if you’re looking around and saying, ‘Shall we get a 25-year-old or 26-year-old midfielder for £15m to £20m who we’ll have to teach to play the Liverpool way or someone who will slot back in at a snip?’, then it’s an absolute no-brainer.
“Wijnaldum will be very motivated and wanting to play. He will want to be involved with the Dutch at the World Cup later this year.
“He knows the system, the manager, the other midfielders. He’s hand in glove, and I say, ‘Take him’.
“He’s unhappy in Paris despite earning a shedload of money. And he might just fancy swallowing a little pride in getting himself back to Merseyside.”