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Gerrard watches Kamara in France
Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa’s transfer committee have been spotted in France on another scouting mission.
Villa head coach Gerrard has travelled to Marseille alongside sporting director Johan Lange and chief executive Christian Purslow to watch The Oympians in action against Nantes. Gerrard’s latest scouting mission follows on from a trip to Spain to check out Atletico Madrid star Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Gerrard, Lange and Purslow were pictured in the stands at the Stade Velodrome during the first half of Marseille’s clash with Nantes on Wednesday evening. Marseille are trying to consolidate second place in Ligue 1, while Nantes are sitting in the top half.
There were plenty of players who could be of interest to Villa, especially in Marseille’s ranks. Gerrard’s priority heading into the summer window is a defensive midfielder and Villa have been linked with Marseille’s Boubacar Kamara.
The 22-year-old becomes available on a free transfer in the summer and it was recently claimed that Villa are ready to offer him a ‘big contract’ to beat off vast competition. Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona have also been linked with Kamara, who was the subject of bids from Newcastle United and Wolves last summer.
Villa linked with Koulibaly
Aston Villa have emerged as a shock potential suitor for Napoli’s in-demand centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to reports in Italy.
Senegal international Koulibaly, 30, has long been of interest to some of Europe’s biggest clubs due to his performances for Napoli over the past eight years. Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid have been linked with the defender in the past.
In February Barcelona were reportedly quoted €70million (£58m) to sign Koulibaly by Napoli ahead of the summer transfer window. But it is now being claimed that Napoli could be open to selling Koulibaly – whose contract expires in 2023 – and Villa are one of the teams being linked with a move.
Italian news outlet TMW claims Premier League trio Villa, Everton and Tottenham Hotspur are interested in Koulibaly. The report states: “Napoli have a real treasure at home and this is demonstrated by the many requests that the big names of Aurelio De Laurentiis’ club are receiving during these weeks. For Kalidou Koulibaly always the Toffees as well as Aston Villa and Tottenham.”
Lingard is set to become available
Long-term Aston Villa target Jesse Lingard is set to become a free agent in July.
The England international’s contract with Manchester United is due to expire and The Mirror reports that he is heading for the Old Trafford exit. Lingard’s availability will put numerous Premier League clubs on red alert for a summer bargain.
Lingard returned to United last summer after a fruitful loan spell at West Ham United in 2021 saw him score nine times in 16 Premier League matches. The 29-year-old has found his opportunities under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick limited this season.
Due to the array of attacking talent at United’s disposal, Lingard has only made two Premier League starts and been afforded 343 minutes of action. He has also been a bit-part player in the cup competitions.
Lingard was priced out of a January move to mega-rich Newcastle United, and the Magpies are likely to rekindle their interest in the summer. West Ham are also expected to move for Lingard after his successful loan spell in the capital.
Villa are long-term admirers of Lingard, having been linked with him repeatedly over the last 18 months, and new head coach Steven Gerrard has singled the forward out in the past. Whilst working as a BT Sport pundit in 2016, Gerrard praised Lingard by saying he is ‘full of energy’ and makes unselfish runs for the team.