Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard is believed to have made a decision regarding the futures of Tyrone Mings and Ollie Watkins, with the pair both having been linked with a departure this summer.
According to talkSPORT reporter Alex Crook – speaking to GIVEMESPORT – the Liverpool legend is set to keep both of his compatriots at Villa Park this season, with the 42-year-old unlikely to sanction the exit of either man.
Asked whether the two England internationals could be moved on before the September deadline, the transfer insider said: “No, I don’t think so. Particularly not Mings now that they’ve lost Diego Carlos. But again, the message I’ve been getting all summer from Villa is that Ollie Watkins is part of their plans and they don’t want to sell.”
There are seemingly doubts over the future of Mings after he was stripped of the captaincy prior to the start of the new season, while teammate Watkins has reportedly been the subject of interest from the likes of Crystal Palace and Leeds United of late.
That decision appears to be the right call by Gerrard, with the former Rangers head coach likely to need to keep both men at the club this season, even after what’s been a mixed start to the new campaign with two defeats from three thus far.
In the case of Mings, the 29-year-old was facing an uncertain future following the manager’s decision to relinquish him of the armband, although the recent long-term injury to summer signing Diego Carlos has ensured that the former Bournemouth man simply can’t afford to be sold.
While he has come under fire for his form of late – with pundit Danny Mills suggesting last term that there “is a mistake in his game somewhere” – the 17-cap gem still offers an experienced head at the back and can be a real imposing presence when at his best.
His aerial ability is particularly impressive, as the £27m-rated man recorded 71 headed clearances last term – the most of any Villa player and the 13th highest in the division – with the 6 foot 5 colossus a menacing figure for any opposition forward.
While not perfect, there may still be hope that the £80k-per-week ace – who was signed on a £20m deal three years ago after an initial loan spell – can still recapture his previous form, while it would be folly for Villa to leave themselves short at the back should they sanction his exit.
In the case of Watkins, it would appear to be a more cut and dry decision with the striker having been a relatively consistent goalscoring presence since his £28m arrival from Brentford back in 2020, scoring 25 league goals in that time.
While his tally of 11 last term was somewhat underwhelming, it was still the highest of any Villans player across all competitions, while he has already started the new season strongly with a goal and two assists in just three games.
Although there has been talk of a new centre-forward addition throughout the current window, at present Watkins remains arguably the club’s most prolific presence in attack, hence Gerrard’s desire to keep him at the club.
For all the potential frustration among supporters at present, cashing in on £48m worth of talent would no doubt be the wrong solution to Villa’s current problems.