Villa looked decidedly shakey on the left side of defence, with both goals coming as Kortney Hause deputised for suspended Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett struggling to protect the flank. It was a result that exposed our limited quality strength in depth, which stands to worsen with Axel Tuanzebe likely to depart for Napoli imminently.
Creativity remains a concern too, with Villa reliant upon Emi Buendia. With Leon Bailey plagued by injury and the erratic Bertrand Traore now departed for the African Cup of Nations, Gerrard will likely be mindful of his inexperienced reserves.
TODD CANTWELLEmbed from Getty Images
Cantwell is an interesting link to emerge given that the 23 year old seems to be at a crossroads of his career.
The winger appeared to be the jewel in Norwich’s crown 3 seasons ago and caught the eye with a string of stand-out performances. Cantwell’s development has stalled in recent times and is arguably a victim of the clubs inability to sustain itself in the top flight.
Something is clearly amiss though, with the player barely having featured this term as Norwich look destined to plummet back to The Championship in decidedly meek fashion. Leeds, who need to ensure they survive themselves, and Villa, are understood to be suitors. A fee of £40m appears somewhat ambitious, but January is a afterall a sellers market.
Cantwell is in the final year of his Norwich contract with the Canaries holding an option of a further year. Anything north of £35m would make the midfielder Villa’s club record signing, surpassing that of the amount paid for Buendia to Norwich last summer.
Villa will be wary of a number of factors, with injuries (including an achilles & back problem) and ‘personal problems‘ cited by former manager Daniel Farke. Farke also banished Cantwell to the Under-23s whilst the player caused a stir by remarking on social media that he wasn’t injured.
In the limited game-time Cantwell has appeared, he’s also been subbed early on two occasions against Watford and by former Villa boss Dean Smith in our win at Carrow Road. In the case of the Villa game, Cantwell was observed disappearing straight down the tunnel.
Links and sources at this stage appear tenuous, but it appears that Cantwell has been made available in January by Norwich as they look to raise cash. It would be a gamble and the fee would need to be right. However, there is a player in there, but can Villa afford to take the risk?
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Gomez has been consistently linked to Villa since the latter part of 2021, suggesting that Villa had been putting the feelers out early.
The Liverpool defender makes some sense given Villa have an established centre-half partnership and that Gomez is looking for opportunities after a long term injury. It might be a move that works in the short term for both parties.
Gomez was a full England international and very much established in the Anfield’s side starting XI before being sidelined. It’s now more reputably reported that Villa are targeting the defender on loan, with Steven Gerrard’s connection to his former club offering a obvious advantage over competing clubs.Embed from Getty Images
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