Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Steven Gerrard clears deck for Arsenal raid after Aston Villa confirm latest exit

Cameron Archer Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard could make one final move for an Arsenal forward facing an uncertain future after Aston Villa sanctioned an exit in their forward line.

Gerrard has wasted little time making his mark on his Aston Villa side. The Liverpool legend has been given free reign to reshape the squad in his image. The twin arrivals of Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho in particular have caught the eye.

Robin Olsen has also been brought on board to shore up the goalkeeping ranks.

But aside from just the here and now, Gerrard has safeguarded the club’s future when signing young centre-half Kerr Smith from Dundee United.

Loan exits have also been forthcoming for many of the club’s hottest prospects as they seek to develop their games with more guaranteed game-time elsewhere.

Jaden Philogene-Bidace was the latest to leave when moving to Stoke. However, he has since been followed out the door by Cameron Archer, who has joined Preston on loan until the end of the season.

The news was confirmed via Preston’s official website, and Archer is raring to go if his first interview is anything to go by.

Bentancur to leave Juventus for Aston Villa thanks to Luis Suarez

Bentancur to leave Juventus for Aston Villa thanks to Luis Suarez

Rodrigo Bentancur is ready to leave Juventus and join Aston Villa as winter spending continues

“Hopefully I will get some experience, some games under my belt, and hopefully score some more goals,” said Archer.

“I’m excited. I’m ready for the challenge and can’t wait to get started. It’s been a good journey so far and I’ve had the opportunity to go on loan now to express myself.”

Archer’s loan exit had been speculated last week by the Birmingham Mail. The outlet suggested Cameron Archer could make way – but only if Villa had irons in the fire regarding a suitable replacement.

Cameron Archer out, Eddie Nketiah in?

Citing the Athletic, the outlet revealed Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah was being ‘considered’. The 22-year-old is also a target for Crystal Palace’s this month, and his contract status suggests a deal could be made.

Nketiah’s current contract runs out in the summer. Arsenal have publicly stated their desire to see Nketiah stay. But with just six months remaining, they are powerless if he refuses to pen fresh terms.

To prevent him from leaving for free, a cut-price January sale has been touted. That could bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back in from the cold at the Emirates, and could explain Villa’s decision to allow Archer to leave for Preston.

Aston Villa star jets off with Man Utd trio

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard is adamant that Aston Villa have no intentions of selling John McGinn. That comes after speculation that a move to Manchester United is on the cards was upped several notches.

The Villa star was pictured heading out to Dubai as the Premier League embarks on a winter break. As per the Daily Mirror, McGinn is jetting out to the sun-drenched Middle East alongside his Villa teammate Tyrone Mings, as well as Manchester United stars Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Diogo Dalot.

McGinn has long-term admirers in the Red Devils. Indeed, reports just lack week namechecked McGinn as £40m target for United once again.

McGinn’s seemingly never-ending energy makes him an ideal fit for Ralf Rangnick’s intense pressing style. That though, understandably, is a scenario that Gerrard is looking to avoid. As such, he’s been speaking directly about the midfielder’s future.

“We are certainly not a club that is looking to sell. Our intention is to keep John McGinn here,” he said.

“We don’t want to be a selling club unless there is a situation, as with [Jack] Grealish [to Manchester City], which works itself out if you like.

“I want [McGinn] to remain a Villa player and we can’t be any clearer on that. We love the player, we love the human being and we want to help him. We certainly see it as a compliment when our best players, or any of our players, are linked with big moves away. I think it shows they are playing at a consistent level.”

READ MORE: Aston Villa excitement as Luis Suarez sends glowing reference on next Gerrard transfer target