After making three good signings in the January transfer window, Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has already shown that he is the type of manager a player would want to work with, as well as being an influencing factor in some deals.
The deal to bring Philippe Coutinho on-loan to the Midlands would perhaps not have been possible if it wasn’t for his former teammate who he had a very good relationship with at Liverpool.
However, a club of Villa’s size and stature still has ‘pull’ in the sense that it is still a very attractive option for players with increasingly high reputations – and that may be proven in the summer transfer window, with the potential arrival of AC Milan star Franck Kessie.
In a report by CalcioMercato, it was claimed that the Premier League club had made a more ‘attractive’ offer than Spanish giants Barcelona, and that the offer was ‘interesting’ to the Ivory Coast international.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano then confirmed that Villa’s interest was serious on his YouTube channel, but the bad news for fans is that the La Liga club are still front-runners, with a number of other clubs also interested – including Tottenham and Liverpool.
He said: “Pasquale Guarro reported about Aston Villa being interested in Kessie for the midfield and is a serious proposal from Aston Villa. At the moment it’s not advanced also at this point.”
The 25-year-old will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season, having failed to agree a new contract thus far and Milan are said to be resigned to losing him.
Whoever manages to agree a deal with the Ivorian will most likely be getting the bargain of the summer, as Kessie has once again demonstrated his ability this campaign in the Serie A.
He has also shown a much more creative side to his game, ranking in the top 16% among midfielders across the top five leagues in Europe for pass accuracy (88.1%) as well as being in the top 1% for average touches in the attacking penalty area with 2.65 – a remarkable stat for someone who’s role in the team is to sit deeper.
If Villa and Gerrard could persuade a world class player like Kessie to come to Birmingham, a push for European qualification would well and truly be on the cards as Gerrard aims to take his team to the next level.
However, fans must not get too excited as Barca remain the favourites in this race.