Steven Gerrard has seen his wish granted after Stoke City completed the loan signing of rising Aston Villa youngster Jaden Philogene-Bidace.
The 19-year-old is one of the most highly-rated prospects Aston Villa have produced in recent years. The winger has been in sensational form in the Premier League 2 this season, bagging six goals and an assist in just four matches.
That led to his breakthrough into the first team where he since racked up four appearances across all competitions.
But with Villa’s senior squad already packed full of talent in the final third – including new loanee Philippe Coutinho – the decision was made to loan Philogene-Bidace out.
TEAMtalk exclusively revealed the news on Wednesday, and manager Gerrard had determined Stoke was the best destination for the forward.
Gerrard was said to be impressed by Stoke boss Michael O’Neill’s work with younger stars. And with the Potters chasing promotion, Philogene-Bidace would also get to experience high-pressure football if Gerrard got his wish.
Now, Stoke have confirmed their proposed loan move has crossed the line via their official website. Philogene-Bidace will remain with Stoke until the end of the season.
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Manager O’Neill said: “Jaden is clearly a very talented young player who we are delighted has chosen to join us.
“He is someone we were clearly aware of, and he will bring something different to the squad for the second half of the season.”
Villa exit possible, more additions in the works – Gerrard
Meanwhile, Aston Villa are working on several more additions this month, though Steven Gerrard admitted their latest signing could spark a player exit.
Speaking in his Friday press conference (via Sky Sports), Gerrard admitted Robin Olsen’s loan arrival could prompt an exit for one of his back-up stoppers. Villa have Jed Steer and 20-year-old Finnish goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo backing up Emiliano Martinez on their first-team books at present.
“We want to make every position in the team as competitive as we can,” said Gerrard when explaining the Olsen addition. “Emi [Martinez] is obviously a world-class goalkeeper. The competition was good when we arrived but we wanted to make it more competitive across the board.
“We had the opportunity to add Robin, with his pedigree in terms of big-game experience, international footballer. Hopefully they can all push Emi moving forward. There might be the possibility for one of them [other goalkeepers] to go out on loan. But we have to see what opportunities present themselves.”
Gerrard also insisted Villa are currently working on multiple deals. However, they won’t be dictated to in the market and will exercise patience if they must.
“There’s a few things bubbling away,” he added. “We’ve identified areas where we would like to strengthen. But as I’ve said before, we’ll only do that if the right players become available. We won’t be forced. If it’s a case of having to be patient until the next window, I’ve got no problem with that.”