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Aston Villa: Gerrard could unearth next Villa hero with Ben Chrisene

While deadline day of the 2022 January transfer window may have been a quiet one for Aston Villa in terms of new players coming in after seeing the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Digne, Robin Olsen and Calum Chambers make their way to Villa Park earlier in the window, the Midlands club managed to secure a loan deal for one of their current players.

Left-back Matt Targett joined fellow Premier League side Newcastle United on a temporary move until the end of the season, presumably as a result of seeing Digne take his place in the team after his arrival from Everton.

While it is just a loan deal, there’s every possibility that Newcastle would be interested in signing him on a permanent basis if he manages to impress from now until the end of the season.

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If that were to happen and Villa did work out a deal with the Tyneside club in the summer to let them keep the 26-year-old permanently, Gerrard could already have an ideal replacement for the defender that wouldn’t cost the club a penny.

After joining Villa’s youth academy from Exeter City’s U18 side back in August 2020, 18-year-old left-back Ben Chrisene has gone on to make a total of 32 appearances for the Midlands club across their U18, U23 and senior sides.

He’s chipped in with two goals and three assists along the way,  showing the attacking talent he has and how highly rated he is by the coaching staff at Villa.

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Back in December, the youngster was promoted to train with the first team, once again showing how highly thought of he is at Bodymoor Heath.

Last month saw the teenager, who has been described as being a “mini Gareth Barry” by Villa journalist Ashley Preece in the past, put pen to paper on a new contract at the Midlands club, with academy manager Mark Harrison saying that the deal “will hopefully give him the platform to work towards that transition of becoming a first-team player.”

With that in mind, if Targett were to end up leaving the club on a permanent basis in the summer, this could pave the way for Chrisene to make his mark in the team and eventually rival Digne for a place in Gerrard’s side in the future and become a new hero at Villa Park.

In other news: Gerrard’s £125k-p/w January transfer gamble could come back to haunt Aston Villa – opinion