Since Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris took over from Tony Xia for ownership of Aston Villa back in 2018, they have not been particularly shy when it comes to spending money on bringing new players to the club.
Now that Steven Gerrard has taken charge after Dean Smith left in November, there have been reports suggesting that the former Rangers boss has his ideas of how to make his mark on the Villa squad in terms of potential incomings, and that he will be given the financial backing from the club’s owners to make it happen.
In terms of what future transfers Gerrard could make to transform this current Villa side to potentially fulfil the owners’ ambitions of securing European football on a regular basis, one man who could be seen as a big investment and possibly their new version Gareth Barry is Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips.
In a recent Villa transfer report from The Athletic, it was claimed that Phillips – who has been described as a “destroyer” on the pitch by former England manager Steve McClaren – “is a player Villa strongly admire but the difficulty of getting him out of Leeds if they remain a Premier League club makes it a non-starter for now.”
Labelled a “powerful” player by former Leeds manager Neil Redfearn, the 25-year-old was comfortably one of their best players in the Premier League last season. WhoScored gave him an overall rating of 7.01/10 for his performances, showing that he took to playing in the top flight like a duck to water after the Yorkshire club’s 16-year absence from that level.
Regarding the idea of Phillips being Villa’s potential new version of Barry, the former Villa midfielder was described in The Guardian as “a technically gifted player with an eye for a pass and an ability to anticipate danger”.
That isn’t too dissimilar to the praise that former Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo gave Phillips by saying that he was a “rock” in midfield for England during their Euro 2020 campaign, whilst also showing his technical passing ability by setting up Raheem Sterling’s winning goal against Croatia in the tournament.
In terms of a potential move to Villa Park in the future, if Leeds do end up being relegated this season, Villa should definitely explore the possibility of signing the £36m-rated midfielder in the summer, even though his current contract isn’t set to expire until the summer of 2024.