It’s been a breath of fresh air at Villa Park following the appointment of Steven Gerrard as the new Aston Villa boss. The legendary Liverpool midfielder revamped Rangers towards redeeming the lost glory before returning to Premier League last year as Dean Smith’s successor in the West Midlands.
Gerrard’s fame and influence helped the Gers strengthen themselves significantly by attracting high-profile names in the transfer window and the same has now been replicated this winter when the Claret & Blues roped in Robin Olsen, Lucas Digne, Calum Chambers and Philippe Coutinho. Although they missed a few targets despite strong rumours, the run of form of late should see the Villans fighting for a top-half finish shaking off early jitters.
January has been eventful for the majority of English sides and Villa, too, had their moments all throughout the previous month. Here we will take a closer look at how they fared overall in terms of bolstering the current set-up.
The Transfer Activity Of Aston Villa
Gerrard played a key role in roping in Coutinho for the remainder of the campaign. The Brazilian lost his mojo since parting ways with Liverpool in favour of a ‘dream’ Barcelona move, however, he showed his mastery on his Villa debut by turning things around against Manchester United as a second-half substitute. He fits in perfectly as an attacking playmaker and the gaffer, too, is expected to tweak his formation revolving around the ‘little magician’.
Moreover, they have secured the services of Digne from Everton who would inject more value as a left fullback if compared to Matt Targett. The latter has left for Newcastle United after losing his first-team place and Digne, hailed for his aggression, marauding runs, cut insides and crosses, must be enjoying the exciting Aston Villa project.
They have not only tied down top-notch stars but also retained Douglas Luiz in spite of offers from multiple outfits. Custodian Emiliano Martinez committed his future by penning a new long-term contract, whereas the other arrivals Olsen and Chambers would add depth as well as the experience in the defensive third.
Having said that, Villa still lack quality in the heart of the backline. Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa are inconsistent and error-prone, and the other centre-half Kortney Hause has not done enough to cement a regular status. Chambers spent years at Arsenal but only settled for a bit-part role under various managers. The Englishman does not look comfortable enough in deep defence and Villa, therefore, might struggle for clean sheets in close contests.
Meanwhile, they were after Juventus’ midfield star Rodrigo Bentancur only to be defeated by Tottenham Hotspur in the transfer race. The hunt for Yves Bissouma did not materialize either and Gerrard, thus, must wait until summer to snap up a deep-lying playmaker.
Irrespective of the highs and lows, Aston Villa did extremely well in the winter window. It is not at all easy to lure in big names in January, but the pulling power of their new manager must have surprised the football fanatics across the world.