Steven Gerrard has had a busy summer.
After guiding Aston Villa to a comfortable 14th place finish last season and threatening to spoil Manchester City‘s party on the final day, he has set about strengthening his squad as the Villans look to push up the table.
The Midlands side have clung on to key players and brought in some solid first team additions such as Boubacar Kamara (free) and Diego Carlos (£26 million).
They also picked up Scottish wonderkid Rory Wilson (£350,000), who has the potential to become a world beating forward. So as the start of the Premier League approaches, Sportsmail looks at how Aston Villa could line up next season.
Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martinez
The Argentine stopper finally appears to have settled at Villa after struggling to establish himself elsewhere. Having never played 20 league games in a season before, Martinez has played 74 of a possible 76 games in his two years at Villa Park.
Swedish international Robin Olsen will provide cover after signing a permanent deal following his loan at the club last year.
Steven Gerrard has had a busy transfer window in his first summer in charge of Aston Villa
Left Back – Lucas Digne
Digne impressed last season after signing in January, and could be more important than ever now that Matt Targett has signed permanently with Newcastle.
The France international has experience playing at huge clubs from his time at Barcelona and PSG, and may help Villa with the mentality they will need to challenge more established Premier League clubs.
Sevilla’s Ludwig Augustinsson has been linked with Villa as back up for Digne.
Centre Back – Tyrone Mings
It has been quite the career trajectory for Mings since Southampton told him he was too small to be a centre back.
Now 6ft 5in, the Villa captain is one of the most aerially dominant defenders in the league, and a key cog in Gerrard’s machine. He has also settled nice into his role as a rotation centre back for England, scoring twice in 17 games for the Three Lions.
The impressive Ezri Konsa will cover for Mings if needed.
Centre Back – Diego Carlos
The newly signed Carlos arrives with an impressive CV after hardly missing a game for Sevilla over the past three years.
He won the Europa League with the cub in 2020, although the fact that he gave away three penalties in the knockout stage may be cause for concern.
He looks an experienced and solid addition though, and should form a good partnership with Mings.
Emiliano Martinez has missed just two Premier League games in the past two seasons
Right Back – Matty Cash
Cash will start this season full of confidence after being named Villa’s player of the season last year. He didn’t miss a game in the Premier League and scored four goals.
He has also recently broken into the Polish national team, and scored his first international goal against the Netherlands last month.
Assuming he isn’t loaned out again, Frederic Guilbert will provide cover for Cash when needed.
Centre Midfield – John McGinn
The Scotland international has hardly missed a game for Villa since signing four year ago, and has shown glimpses of his immense talent.
He has all the skills to succeed as a Premier League midfielder, but often goes missing at key moments and struggles for consistency.
McGinn will be a vital cog at Villa, and if he performs as his best it will improve the team around him considerably.
Emiliano Buendia impressed with his creative output last year but struggled to score goals
Centre Midfield – Boubacar Kamara
Kamara was a shrewd addition from Gerrard, as the highly-rated midfielder is already an experienced head from his time at Marseille, despite being just 22.
The French midfielder will likely sit in a holding role but his versatility may come in handy, as Kamara has previously filled in at centre back and in both full back positions.
Douglas Luiz may provide cover in midfield, although he has been linked with a move away from Villa.
Left Wing – Emiliano Buendia
The Argentinian winger didn’t make quite the goal scoring impact fans might have hoped for, but he still showed his class as one of Villa’s most creative players.
If he can recreate the scoring form he showed in his final season at Norwich then Buendia could become a real handful for defenders.
Central Attacking Midfield – Phillippe Coutinho
Coutinho brings genuine star quality to this side. He was among the best players in the league in his first Premier League stint with Liverpool and showed he’s still got it last season, picking up five goals in 19 appearances.
Securing the Brazilian star on a permanent deal is perhaps more important than bringing in any new player, as he has the ability to be a talismanic figure for the Villans.
29-year-old Philippe Coutinho has the ability to be a talismanic figure for the Villans
Right Wing – Ollie Watkins
The former Brentford man has scored consistently for Villa, but is yet to truly impose himself on the Premier League with a haul of the kind he managed in the Championship.
There’s no time like the present, though. At 26, Watkins should be in his prime as a forward and will be itching to live up to the hype he created with a hat trick against Liverpool in 2020.
Striker- Danny Ings
Seven goals in 30 games would have been a disappointing return for Ings in 2021/2, but he showed the season before at Southampton he has the ability to be a 20-goal-a-season striker.
It may feel like he’s been around forever, but the former Burnley and Liverpool man is only 29, and could help Villa to a memorable season if he can get back to his best.
Watch out as well for Rory Wilson, the 16-year-old from Rangers who scored 49 goals youth goals last season.