Aston Villa plot move for Liverpool fringe star Joe Gomez
According to transfer news on Calciomercato (h/t ESPN), Aston Villa are ready to put forth an offer to sign Joe Gomez from Liverpool. The centre-back has fallen out of favour at the Merseyside club and could be thinking about exploring a move away from the club.
The youngster was a product of Charlton Athletic and later joined Liverpool at the tender age of 18. He played in their development squad initially but Jurgen Klopp promoted him to the first team in the 2016/17 season. He formed an integral part of the side that reached the Champions League final in the following season before clinching the title in 2019. His best performances came in the Premier League winning campaign, although his form has fallen off a cliff since then.
Could lack of chances urge him to find a way out of Liverpool? And could Steven Gerrard lure the Englishman to Aston Villa?
Aston Villa need depth in their centre-back options
Since being promoted to the senior set-up in 2017, Gomez has only managed to rack up 130 games. His 43 appearances across all competitions in the 2019/20 season was the last time he appeared more than 10 times in the league. An injury prevented him from doing so last season, and minor knocks have done the same this term. The signing of Ibrahima Konate has not helped his development.
Thus, Aston Villa are now trying to provide him with an escape route. The Villans were impressive last season, as they nearly managed a top-half finish. They were expected to kick on from thereon but massively failed in doing so. A poor start to the season cost Dean Smith his job, and the Birmingham-based club appointed Steven Gerrard.
The Liverpool legend coached the youth setup of his boyhood club before excelling with Rangers in the Scottish Premiership. Thus, he had the CV to land the job but there were doubts about his tactical acumen. The results since his appointment are evidence that he knows what he is doing, but the Englishman is also aware of what needs to be done going ahead.
The depth in their backline is thin, and it could cause problems in the future. Gerrard wants to increase the competition within the ranks, as Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have taken their roles in the starting XI for granted at times. Kourtney Hause is a viable replacement for both, but his contract shall come to an end next summer. Axel Tuanzebe is also set to return to Manchester United after his loan deal expires.
Hence, it does not leave the English legend with a lot of options. Gomez is a Premier League seasoned centre-back and has experience of playing in Europe too. Injuries may be a concern, but a proper fitness regime could help in churning the best out of him again. Moreover, at 24, he still has several years ahead of him and could become the main man at the back in the coming years as Villa look to get back into European football.
The Gerrard connection?
The English international may have fallen down the pecking order at Anfield, but that might not have diminished his importance to Jurgen Klopp. The defender signed a six-year deal in 2018, committing his future to the club until 2024. Thus, the Reds could still make him part of their plans. Even more so once their fixture schedule gets congested towards the business end of the season.
If an interested club does want to sign him, the Merseyside outfit could also charge a fee they think is fair; especially since they are under no obligation to let him go anytime soon. This could put in a thorn in the backs of Villa, and it remains to be seen if they are keen on shelling out the big bucks on a player that has only made 11 league appearances in the last 18 months.
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Steven Gerrard could use his relationship with the club to smoothen a potential move. That goes without saying, considering he is a legend at Anfield and would surely have a direct line of communication to the club. But his charming nature can only do so much to convince the FSG-owned club to part ways with one of their stars for the future.
Thus, Gomez could add the much-needed depth the Villa backline craves, but they might need to find a way to jump over the potential obstacles to strike a deal.