Villa are set for a busy transfer window with plenty of outgoings expected and in terms of incomings, the mantra will be quality over quantity. And topping Gerrard's transfer wish list this summer is a holding midfielder capable of screening the back four and allowing Villa's talented attackers to flourish further forward.
In recent defeats against West Ham, Arsenal and Wolves, the mercurial Philippe Coutinho has too often come searching for the ball just to retain possession for Gerrard's side. And without Douglas Luiz in the starting XI for the trip to Molineux at the weekend, John McGinn was sacrificed to sit in front of the defence in the disappointing defeat.
McGinn might have topped the charts for key passes, progressive passes, tackles and blocks against Wolves, but Gerrard doesn't want to risk taking the Scot's boundless energy and attacking expertise out his team for any more games than are necessary.
It gave a clue to where Villa's issues might lie next season if midfielder Luiz leaves the club, as reports suggest he could. Of course, Marvelous Nakamba is set to return from injury and could play some part of Villa's game against Tottenham this weekend, but Villa need more depth and cover.
The Telegraph report that both Kalvin Phillips and Yves Bissouma feature on Villa's shortlist to improve Gerrard's midfield this summer. Leeds United midfielder Phillips could cost £60million, while Bissouma could be attainable for a cut-pice fee of around £20million-£30million as he enters the final 12 months of his contract at Brighton.
Villa have already tried and failed to sign both players previously. Phillips was a target in 2019, but Leeds rejected a £25million bid. While it was a similar story in January for Villa's pursuit of Bissouma as well.