Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Gerrard admits latest signing may prompt exit; more Aston Villa additions ‘bubbling away’

Steve Pearson
Steven Gerrard before an Aston Villa match

Aston Villa are working on several more additions this month, though Steven Gerrard admitted their latest signing could spark a player exit.

Aston Villa have led the way this month with four deals already completed. Lucas Digne and young defender Kerr Smith have signed on a permanent basis. Philippe Coutinho has arrived on loan, and the latest to move via that route was goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

However, speaking in his Friday press conference (via Sky Sports), Gerrard admitted Olsen’s arrival could prompt a loan 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.”

Digne’s arrival had prompted talk of Newcastle spying an opportunity to sign Matt Targett. The left-back will now play second fiddle to Digne, but Gerrard has no sympathy for those now facing a battle for their place.

Aston Villa pair Ollie Watkins and Matt Targett battling Man City playmaker Bernardo Silva

He added: “The players have to accept that I’m going to try to improve this club in every single department, so if someone arrives in your position, you’re going have to accept it and fight for game time.

“The best players play at the end of the day.”

More Villa arrivals being worked on – Gerrard

The subject then turned to whether Villa had concluded their business regarding further arrivals.

Gerrard insisted Villa are currently working on multiple deals, though won’t be dictated to in the market and will exercise patience if they must.

“There’s a few things bubbling away,” he said. “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.

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“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.”

The Athletic recently revealed which areas Gerrard is seeking to improve, and an ambitious Arsenal raid could yet result.


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Villa’s Arsenal raid could prompt striker exit

Meanwhile, 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.

According to the Birmingham Mail (citing the Athletic), the comings and goings are set to continue at Villa Park.

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. 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. That makes this month Arsenal’s last chance to generate a fee – providing he doesn’t sign a contract extension.

At present, any potential deal with Villa appears very much in its infancy. However, should an agreement be struck over the next 10 days, Villa’s Cameron Archer could then make way.

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.

READ MORE: Aston Villa end West Ham defender pursuit by confirming three-and-a-half-year deal