Joe Gomez’s protracted move to Aston Villa in January rests on him pushing for a transfer if he wants to get his England place back for next winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
The Liverpool defender has struggled for regular first-team minutes since recovering from a serious knee injury during the summer, with manager Jurgen Klopp relegating him to fourth-choice after the signing of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.
Gomez was a regular in the Liverpool side during their title-winning campaign, making 28 appearances in the Premier League and 43 in all competitions. However his injury last year saw him lose his place and this season he has made just three starts with none coming in the league.
Steven Gerrard’s arrival at Villa Park has instantly seen him linked with some Liverpool stars and Gomez is a player who many believe can boost their defensive structure with his versatility and ability to play out from the back.
Klopp has previously described the 6 foot 2 defender as “sensational” but he currently doesn’t have space for him in his starting lineup thanks to the form of Joel Matip and the arrival of Konate.
Former Tottenham and England goalkeeper Paul Robinson believes the deal would be a “massive coup” for Villa, but says it rests on Gomez pushing for the move.
“It would be a massive coup for them,” Robinson told Football Insider.
“The only way I can see that deal going through is if the player pushes for a move. Gomez might drive a move himself given the World Cup is coming up next year. I can only see Gomez joining Villa if he pushes for a move to get into that England squad.”
With the World Cup taking place next December, Gomez knows that regular game time is his best hope of getting into the England squad.
Gareth Southgate has got his four favoured centre-back options in John Stones, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady, while Ben White is also knocking on the door for a place after being involved at Euro 2020. But Gomez was a regular in the squad before his injury, earning three of his 11 caps in 2020 before getting injured while with the national team.
A move would do him good to get back out on the pitch regularly and Gerrard would surely be happy to have a player of his quality in the squad to pick from too. After all, it’s an area that lacks depth and long-term solutions with Axel Tuanzebe only on loan from Manchester United.
Southgate has shown he has no problem picking past options if they play regularly, as shown with Jesse Lingard last year so Gomez should take this opportunity and make the most of it. It would be a deal that suits all parties, especially with Villa conceding 24 times, more than Leeds, Southampton and Brentford – all of whom are languishing near the bottom of the table.
On that evidence, Johan Lange clearly needs to add defensive recruits if they are to climb up the division and signing a player from one of the top sides in the league to fix that hole would be a sizeable coup.
AND in other news, Ashley Young can help Aston Villa forget about Matt Targett injury.