Man Utd star makes request after Aston Villa transfer links as Steven Gerrard given major boost


Aston Villa are fully focused on matters on the pitch after the January transfer window closed on Monday night.

Steven Gerrard’s side return to Premier League action next week against Leeds United and in preparation for their return, Villa will face Norwegian club Molde in a friendly this weekend after already beating Brentford 2-1 at Villa Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Here are the latest headlines…

Lingard has Man United request after Villa transfer claims

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard says he needs to ‘clear’ his head after a January transfer away from Old Trafford failed to materialise.

The former Birmingham City loanee was linked with a move to Villa as well as Newcastle United last month.

The Manchester Evening News claimed Villa were one of several Premier League clubs ‘monitoring’ the England international ahead of a possible swoop.

It was Newcastle who came closest to signing the 29-year-old England international, but the mid-season move fell through and Lingard has now asked United interim boss Ralf Rangnick for a couple of days off from training.

“He asked me and the club if we could give him a couple of days off just to clear up his mind and he will be back in the group next Monday, back for training, and be a regular part of the whole squad again,” Rangnick told reporters before United’s FA Cup clash against Middlesbrough.

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Gerrard and Villa receive huge Leeds United boost

Aston Villa will receive a huge boost before their fixture against Leeds United on February 9, after Burkina Faso lost 3-1 to Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations last night.

This, therefore, means Bertrand Traore will be returning to England and could be available for selection in the near future for Steven Gerrard.

Traore played the full 90 minutes in the semi-final fixture last night and operated as the lone striker in a 4-3-3 formation for his country.

The Villa attacker was the highest rated player on his team according to SofaScore after recording four shots, one key pass, seven duels won, three fouls drawn and two clearances. He captained his side in a valiant effort against the tournament’s favourites in Senegal, who were guided to victory by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane who recorded a goal and assist.

Traore has only made six appearances for Villa this season, including just one start, after suffering with several injuries throughout the year. He appeared as a late substitute on the opening day of the season and within seconds he drifted past two players and won a penalty for his team.

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Villa duo promoted as Gerrard dusts off his Liverpool magic – things spotted in training

Preparations are continuing at Bodymoor Heath ahead of Aston Villa’s big Premier League return against Leeds United next week.

Villa beat Brentford in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday while, on Saturday, they’ll host Norwegian side Molde FK at Villa Park in another in-house game.

Villa should welcome back their South American trio tomorrow (Friday) with Emi Martinez, Emi Buendia and Philippe Coutinho all in action for Argentina and Brazil respectively this past week.

Back at base and Villa TV have released some telling training ground footage once again as BirminghamLive picks out some interesting quirks…

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Gerrard set for big summer transfer budget as Villa reassess Bissouma deal

Aston Villa’s business was concluded five days ago off the back of the shock deal to bring in Arsenal utility man Calum Chambers on a free transfer.

Chambers was Villa’s fifth and final addition of the winter window following Philippe Coutinho, Lucas Digne, Robin Olsen and under-23 starlet Kerr Smith.

Last night’s deadline day was, however, a busy one with Villa once again rejecting bids for Douglas Luiz, while Matt Targett secured a surprise loan move to Newcastle United.

The likes of under-23 performers Kaine Kesler-Hayden, Filip Marschall, Tyreik Wright all moved out on loans as well with Villa now set on their first-team squad from now until the end of the campaign in May.

Here’s the best of our latest fans’ forum with BirminghamLive’s Villa correspondent Ashley Preece (AP), with Brighton ace Yves Bissouma – of interest to Villa – dominating the discussion…

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Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter
Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter

Potter snaps back after Bissouma transfer question amid Villa interest

Brighton boss Graham Potter was in no mood to discuss the much-talked about transfer pursuit involving star man Yves Bissouma.

The Mali international remains a top transfer target for Aston Villa who, last month, were knocked back in their approach for the 25-year-old with the Seagulls slapping a £50million price on him.

That valuation put Villa and a whole host of other clubs off knowing Bissouma has just 17 months remaining on his current contract which expires in June 2023.

Ahead of Brighton’s fourth-round FA Cup tie at Tottenham, Potter was asked if Bissouma came close to leaving the club in January, and told SussexLive : “No, it’s another window that has gone by and I have spent a lot of time talking about Yves Bissouma but he is still here – it is like groundhog day.

“He has always indicated to me that he is happy here, that he is enjoying the football. That is the situation and we’re looking forward to working with him.”

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