Steven Gerrard has reportedly already let Aston Villa chiefs know the name of the player he wants to make his first signing at Villa Park.
The Rangers manager is widely expected to quit Ibrox and take up the helm at Villa as Dean Smith’s replacement. Villa officials are understood to have made background checks on Gerrard and have sounded out his representatives. And the Daily Telegraph report that Villa are poised to enter into talks with the 41-year-old, as long as Rangers grant them position.
The Guardian suggest that approach will come in the next 48 hours, but the Daily Record report that contact will come on Wednesday.
Gerrard is under contract until 2024 at Ibrox. The the new deal he signed in December 2019, is understood to include a £2m-plus break clause. That compensation figure will not put off Villa’s owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.
And with all the signs pointing towards his appointment, focus is already turning towards the January window.
Indeed, as per football.london, Gerrard is likely to prioritise the signing of Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley.
The 27-year-old is no stranger to Villa fans either, having signed up on loan during the 2019/20 season. And Barkley made a fast start to life at Villa Park, scoring twice on his first two appearances under Smith.
However, while his form faded over the second half of the season, Barkley has still been afforded a chance at Chelsea. Indeed, Thomas Tuchel gave the midfielder his first start for the Blues since August 2019 in the 1-1 draw with Burnley.
But with just 18 months left on his deal, our exclusive has revealed the career crossroads Barkley finds himself under.
Indeed, Chelsea are considering whether to hand him a new deal or put him up for sale. And the England hopeful has no shortage of admirers with the likes of Leeds, Newcastle and Burnley all hovering.
However, football.london reports that Gerrard is a long-term admirer of Barkley.
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Speaking on BT Sport in 2017, fellow pundit Steve McManaman shared his opinion that Barkley would thrive away from Everton, one Gerrard agreed with.
“Maybe in a better team, he might be a better player, and he might grow and he might really excel,” he said.
“For sure,” Gerrard echoed. “100 per cent, if he was to go to a Tottenham or a Chelsea or anywhere else he would fly.
“And all the Everton fans would be saying ‘why did we sell him?’ – that’s exactly what is going to happen.”
Carragher claims Gerrard is perfect for Villa
With things expected to move quickly for Gerrard and Villa, his prospective move has been given a big endorsement by close pal Jamie Carragher.
And while he is seen by many as Jurgen Klopp’s successor at Liverpool, the Sky Sports pundit insists Villa Park is the perfect stepping stone.
“I think Aston Villa as a club would be a great move for Steven Gerrard. But the situation that he finds himself in right now is that he took the title off Celtic last season. And now he is in a great position to win it again,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“I think in a perfect world you would want to stay at Rangers until the end of the season. And to do so coming away from there with two titles.
“People talk about Liverpool. That might be two or three years with Jurgen Klopp,” Carragher added. “You won’t get many better offers than Villa. But in a perfect world I think he wants to come away from Rangers with another two or three trophies.”