Steven Gerrard’s managerial life in the Premier League hasn’t quite gone exactly to plan so far. There have been bright spells where Aston Villa have performed well, but these have been few and far between.
A 14th-place finish in the league wasn’t the start that the 41-year-old would have wanted, but it seems that he is building for a better future, especially with signings such as Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne.
Nonetheless, there are some players that Gerrard must seriously consider replacing as he looks ahead to next season, as a bad start could hold serious repercussions further down the line.
The Villa defence could well be the main area for strengthening, and with the club reportedly interested in Rangers defender Calvin Bassey amid a fee of £25m being touted, the manager could finally axe Tyrone Mings.
The 29-year-old is ranked 10th in the Villa squad with an average rating of 6.74 on WhoScored, a respectable return, but his performances haven’t justified the £25m transfer fee for which the club signed him in 2019.
Danny Mills described him as “fortunate” to have received his England caps early just a couple of years ago due to his performances, and at 29 years of age, his sell-on potential isn’t going to get any higher.
Bassey could be one for the future, and it’s not just the Rangers faithful who are noticing his rapid progression either. Owen Hargreaves dubbed the player “astonishing” following the Europa League final, where he was one of the standouts for the Gers, and he conjured up the energy to play a valuable part in their Scottish Cup final win just three days later.
The Nigeria international is only 22, and it’s time that Gerrard looked toward youth. Bassey commits fewer fouls and wins more tackles per 90 minutes (21 and 28 respectively) than Mings (29 and 21 respectively); and despite his main position being left-back, Bassey has slotted into the heart of the Rangers’ defence with ease this season.
Gerrard knows all about the 22-year-old, as it was he who signed the youngster from Leicester City in 2020, and a move for Bassey would be another step towards his rebuild at Villa Park.