While Aston Villa failed to finish in the top half of the Premier League table, as looked possible not so long ago, they are in a much better place now than they were at the time of Steven Gerrard’s appointment in November. Back then, Villa were concerned purely with preserving their Premier League status. Now, they are plotting a way up the table.
The Villa Park outfit have already confirmed one transfer for the 2022/23 season with Philippe Coutinho signed on a permanent deal from Barcelona after a loan spell at Aston Villa. The Brazilian playmaker has thrived under Gerrard and looks to have found a place to revitalise his career.
Some other areas of the squad will require strengthening for Aston Villa to move up the Premier League table next season. Gerrard has reportedly prioritised the signing of a new central defender to upgrade his current back pairing of Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings. Joe Gomez has been mentioned as a potential target.
Gomez has only started three Premier League matches for Liverpool this season, also making four appearances off the bench. Only four of those total appearances have been in the 24-year-old’s preferred position of centre back and so it would be understandable if he is open to a move away from Anfield this summer.
James Tarkowski could be another option for Villa this summer with the England international expected to leave Burnley at the end of the season regardless of their relegation fate. However, Gerrard could face stiff competition for the 29-year-old’s signature with Newcastle United and West Ham both believed to be interested.
Central midfielder is an area Gerrard reportedly wants to strengthen with Yves Bissouma on Aston Villa’s radar. The 25-year-old would bring drive and technical ability to Villa’s central unit, but there will be just as much interest in Bissouma this summer as there will be in Tarkowski. After four years at Brighton, he appears ready for the next step in his career.
Dan Ashworth’s impending appointment as Newcastle United’s new Director of Football could give the Magpies an advantage in their pursuit of Bissouma considering Ashworth was the one who signed the midfielder for Brighton. Liverpool are also thought to be long-term admirers of the 25-year-old – it’s easy to imagine Bissouma fitting into a Jurgen Klopp midfield.
Gerrard could add a new centre forward to his squad despite already having Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins. Luis Suarez played with the former midfielder during their time together at Liverpool and recent reports claim Aston Villa will offer the Uruguayan striker a contract following his exit from Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.
Of course, Suarez is one of the best goalscorers of his generation and would give Villa a sharper edge inside the penalty box. However, the 35-year-old is fading as a physical force and is unable to play every minute of every minute liked he used to. Gerrard should be wary of putting too much stock in the signing of Suarez when he’s not the player he was even last season.
Emmanuel Dennis could be an attractive option with the Nigerian likely to be on the market following Watford’s relegation to the Championship. The 24-year-old found the back of the net 10 times in 33 appearances for the Hornets in the Premier League this season and would be expected to score more with a better support system around him.
This summer will be a crucial one for Gerrard if he is to turn Aston Villa into the force he clearly believes they can become. This season saw the former Liverpool captain put in place the foundations. Now, he must build something on top of them. He must make the right summer signings.