The influence of Steven Gerrard has proved pivotal for Aston Villa once again after a report detailed why a Newcastle raid has fallen short.
The cash-rich Magpies have cast their transfer net far and wide this month. Eddie Howe has already reeled in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood. But if they are to avoid the ultimate humiliation and beat the drop, further deals may be required in the coming days.
One left-field option that had emerged was that of Aston Villa veteran, Ashley Young. Howe has spoken of Newcastle’s need to add greater experience and nous to his squad, as evidenced by the signings of 31-year-old Trippier and 30-year-old Wood.
At 36, few players in the Premier League have more experience from which to draw on than Young. And given he has only played a sparing role at Villa Park this season, a move may have its benefits for the versatile star.
TEAMtalk exclusively revealed Newcastle were among a trio of Premier League clubs eyeing Young this month. Watford and Norwich rounded out the list, and the Mirror since backed up that notion.
However, per the Mirror, Young will not be on the move this month.
Steven Gerrard factor pivotal once more
They state the ex-Man Utd captain has ‘told Steven Gerrard he wants to stay’ at Aston Villa. Gerrard is deemed a huge admirer of Young’s versatility and professionalism.
Young is viewed by Gerrard as a ‘de facto club captain’ given his vast experience and leadership qualities. And per the report, the admiration is mutual.
Gerrard wasted little time in hailing Young upon arriving at Villa. He labelled him ‘coach-like’ and hailed him for setting the standard behind the scenes at the club.
Gerrard and Aston Villa to bid for Joe Gomez from Liverpool
Aston Villa will bid for Joe Gomez from Liverpool before the window closes on Monday
With Gerrard’s influence clearly a major factor, Young has therefore opted to snub Newcastle’s approach. Common sense would dictate Norwich and Watford’s interest will also come to nothing.
That is the latest in an impressive series of early accomplishments for Steven Gerrard at Villa.
He has already made a huge impact in the transfer market with the arrivals of Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho’s loan arrival in particular caught the eye, and would not have been possible without the pair’s prior connection at Liverpool.
On the pitch, Gerrard has secured five wins from his first 10 league matches in charge, drawing one and losing four. While that may not sound all that impressive on first glance, three of the defeats came against title-chasing trio Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Double Villa swoop falling into place
Meanwhile, everything looks to be falling into place at Aston Villa with a report making exciting claims over prospective deals regarding Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma.
Bentancur and Bissouma are both players Gerrard has pursued in January. That said, the Seagulls are eager to keep hold of Bissouma this season.
The Birmingham Mail states that a deal for Bentancur could go through in January with an offer likely ‘coming’.
However, it also states that Villa will continue their pursuit of Bissouma into the summer. With the Malian’s contract up at the end of next season, the Villans could poach him for a cut-price fee.
That deal would also consolidate for the potential loss of Douglas Luiz, who has played as a defensive-midfielder this season. Reports state that Arsenal are keen on taking the Brazilian to the Emirates.
Signing both Bissouma and Bentancur would give Villa a host of options in the defensive-midfield position next season.
Furthermore, they are both apt in the number eight position, so could comfortably play in the same team.