Aston Villa targets 'sitting up and taking notice' amid 'perfect' claim - pundit

By Noel Whelan

17th Jan, 2022 | 8:07am

Aston Villa targets 'sitting up and taking notice' as pundit 'wowed' after transfer latest

Noel Whelan has claimed potential Aston Villa targets will “sit up and take notice” after the arrivals of Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted it is “very exciting times at Villa Park” at present.

Digne and Coutinho made their Aston Villa debuts on Saturday (15 January) as the Midlands side rescued a 2-2 draw at home against Man United.

Speaking pre-match and quoted by the Guardian (14 January), manager Steven Gerrard insisted the incomings are “statement signings” which display the “optimism and ambition” at Villa.

Whelan insisted the pulling power of Gerrard knows no bounds, with Coutinho’s arrival capable of “selling the club to anybody”.

He told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge: “It just shows the pulling power of Steven Gerrard, doesn’t it? Wow.

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“I think Digne mentioned that in his interview. I think the signing of Coutinho will sell the club to anybody.

“If you can pull in a name like that off the back of a manager, players will sit up and take notice. I think a lot of players are doing just that now.

“It’s very exciting times at Villa Park. They’ve added a top international player in Lucas Digne, someone who suits their style of play. He’s the perfect fit and a real cut above Matt Targett.”

Digne will cost Aston Villa a potential £26m after add-ons.

Speaking to club media on Friday, the France international suggested Gerrard had a huge part to play in his signing, claiming the legendary ex-midfielder was the “main factor” in his arrival.

Coutinho joined the Midlands side on an initial six-month loan deal.

Gerrard’s side sit 13th in the Premier League following Saturday’s result.

In other news, pundit predicts Aston Villa making another “huge statement” in the transfer window.