Bale, Suarez and Coutinho? How Aston Villa could look ahead of next season

After an underwhelming end to the season, Aston Villa finished 14th in the Premier League. Steven Gerrard will be desperate to change his team's fortunes and could shake up his squad as a result.

The ex-Rangers boss admitted that finishing as low as 14th wasn't good enough, and has since promised a drastic improvement in 2022/23. 

So far, he has made the type of signings that can only enhance Villa's position in the table next season, but how could the Villans line up by the end of the transfer window?

Below, we take a look at possible first-team starters for the Midlands club as they bid for European football.

Emiliano Martinez

Hailed as one of the best goalkeepers in the world by Lionel Messi, Martinez has become an instant fan favourite at Villa Park.

It's not hard to see why either. Martinez has 26 clean sheets in the Premier League since joining Villa in 2020/21. There is no debate as to who the number one is.

Matty Cash

Matty Cash of Poland celebrates after winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup playoff qualifying football match

The full back was Villa's best player last season and was voted Player of the Season by his peers.

His blistering pace and end product has improved greatly since joining Villa in 2020/21 from Nottingham Forest and it has seen him attract interest from Atletico Madrid.

The Polish international ended any rumours of leaving by signing a new five-year deal to keep him at Villa until 2027.

Diego Carlos

In a stunning move, Carlos decided to move from Sevilla to Villa, with the transfer set to go through on June 10.

The 2019/20 Europa League winner was in-demand but snubbed the likes of Newcastle and Atletico Madrid for Steven Gerrard.

Having shipped 54 goals last season, Villa will certainly welcome the £26million Carlos as they look to tighten the defence up.

Tyrone Mings

Tyrone Mings of Aston Villa talking to Referee Darren England

Mings will always make one error per game so the question is - why start him?

It's quite simple, he is a leader and while he had a poor 2021/22, the majority did at Villa, including Ezri Konsa. 

With James Tarkowski not in the plans of Gerrard, and Konsa out for the first couple of months of the new season, Mings has a chance to remind people why he became an England regular under Gareth Southgate.

Lucas Digne

The Frenchman joined in January and he has looked solid since arriving from Everton.

In 16 appearances, Digne has made four assists and with the permanent signing of Philippe Coutinho, the full back is now an integral part of the side going forward.

Boubacar Kamara

Boubacar Kamara has signed for Aston Villa

Fans are most excited about this signing.

The 22-year-old was highly thought of by clubs all around Europe including Atletico Madrid but it was Villa who got his signature.

A versatile midfielder, the Frenchman is expected to play in a holding position and this could be the difference between finishing inside the top half and making a European spot for Villa.

Jacob Ramsey

Ramsey has become a regular fixture in this Villa side and he is only going to get better under Steven Gerrard.

The 21-year-old is the first player from the academy to be picked consistently in the team since Jack Grealish, and he has already made 60 appearances in the last two seasons.

John McGinn

John McGinn challenges Tariq Lamptey Aston Villa vs Brighton Feb22

The Scot has been nothing short of sensational since moving to Villa in 2018. A box to box midfielder who loves a tackle, McGinn has all the ingredients of a throwback player to the early 2000s.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Liverpool have all been linked to McGinn, but with the ambition of the owners, it is expected he will remain at Villa.

Steven Gerrard is yet to confirm his Villa captain after admitting it may change arms - and McGinn is a strong contender to take over from Mings as skipper.

Philippe Coutinho

Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho (left) celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game with team-mate Tyrone Mings during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday March 5, 2022.

Coutinho turned his loan spell into a permanent move to Villa and finished the season with five goals and three assists from 19 appearances.

With a pre-season under his belt, and more names coming through the door, Coutinho is only going to get better.

It is worth noting that Coutinho cost Villa £17m - just £5m more than Ross McCormack from Fulham in 2016.

Luis Suarez

First Coutinho, then Xabi Alonso as new assistant coach and now Suarez? Steven Gerrard appears to be getting the old band back together.

A free agent, Suarez could still do some damage in the Premier League at 35 and while he only made 20 starts for Atletico Madrid last season, he scored 11 goals in La Liga.

Granted he won't be able to play every game, he is an upgrade to Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings in front of goal.

Gareth Bale

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale with his winner medal after the UEFA Champions League Final

Another player who is looking for a new club.

Bale ended his nine-year association with Real Madrid following their latest Champions League win and leaves having won 19 major trophies.

Steven Gerrard paid tribute to the Welshman prior to the final in Paris.

"Over time and in the years to come, he will look back and say, 'I've won five times'. No one can blame him.

"It's a shame he's not getting the consideration he deserves in terms of his contribution during this time and what he's going to take away from it on his CV. It is a shame that he did not have the opportunity to enter the field."

Could Gerrard be eyeing up another superstar name? Don't rule it out.

READ MORE: Meet the Gibraltar international keeper who stopped Erling Haaland from scoring

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