Aston Villa target suffers injury blow: Next move for Steven Gerrard?

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Aston Villa target and Stoke City centre-half Harry Souttar has suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury while on international duty. Thus, this has put doubts for Villa and Gerrard to make a move for him.

Football Australia have confirmed on their website that Harry Souttar suffered an ACL injury. He picked up the injury while playing in the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifier against Saudi Arabia, earlier this month.

Prior to the injury Souttar had made a good start to the season with Stoke City and produced a number of exceptional performances at the back for the Potters this season. He made 18 appearances in all competitions and recorded one goal for Stoke City this season.

The 23-year-old centre half had been a wall and a leader at the back for Michael O’Neill’s side. He has also averaged  1.8 interceptions, 1.8 tackles, and 5.7 clearances per game in the EFL Championship. He has also completed 82.4% of his total passes attempted to his teammates in the EFL Championship.

Souttar has made an exceptional rise into the first team of Stroke City since joining the club back in 2016. Since then he has been named as the Stoke City vice-captain. He also has an exceptional scoring record for Australia, scoring six goals in his ten appearances for his national side.

Harry at 2.01m tall is quite strong in the air and a threat in the opposition penalty box too. He wins a majority of his aerial duels due to his size and strength. The Australian defender is also well known for his tackling ability inside the defensive third of the pitch and can also play and pass the ball out from the back. But the only down point is that he has no experience at the highest level of football.

Alongside Aston Villa, Tottenham and Everton are also interested in the 23-year-old centre-half’s services. Everton were keen on bringing Harry Souttar last summer, but the move didn’t materialize.

Next move for Steven Gerrard and Aston Villa?

Aston Villa have had a fairly leaky defence this season. Having conceded 20 goals already in the Premier League this season. Steven Gerrard will be certainly hoping he can sure up the defence and build a solid platform at the back.

Dean Smith’s trusted defence kept 15 clean sheets in the previous season. But players like club captain Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett who won Villa’s player of the season last year have shown a massive dropoff in their performances from last season.

But with Harry Souttar injury setback, Gerrard would have to look at other options if he wants to strengthen his team at the back. On loan centre-half, Axel Tuanzebe has played a few games in the heart of defence but will likely return to Manchester United once the loan move expires. So Gerrard may need to bring in new faces at the back for the present and the future.

Aston Villa may even make an approach back for Harry Souttar in the summer once he returns from injury.

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