Whisper it quietly, but Aston Villa may only be a couple of good moves away from being genuine challengers for Europe next season. Of course, the Champions League is a stretch, but this is more about the Europa League and Europa Conference League, both competitions that don’t seem too far away. The reality of their challenge will only be seen after they have made their summer moves, in what looks set to be a huge off-season at the club.

The summer is a great time for fans to switch off and move away from the club for a few weeks, in order to wind down after the current season, and take a break before the next one begins. It is also a time to explore new hobbies, though many like to keep them football-related. The gaming industry has recognised this, by creating football-themed titles for their players.

Console titles like FIFA and Rocket League are well known to football fans, but other areas of the online gaming industry have football-themed options too. For example, the iGaming arm of the sector has several options for those looking for an alternative. Games available include Football Studio and Football Star, with offers such as claiming free spins bonuses without making a deposit. Giving the option to try these games out for free, this type of offer can be helpful if this type of iGaming is new to the player.

Then, there are more traditional types of football-focused gaming, like collecting football cards and creating fantasy teams. Of course, even while away and focusing on other types of entertainment, fans will keep an eye out for big moves, hoping for no big outgoings, and expecting a couple of statement signings coming in.

What Does Villa Need to Challenge for Europe?

The key to begin with for Steven Gerrard has to be keeping the squad that he currently has. The foundations have been laid here, there is a lot to be excited about, and that work cannot be undone. Part of that involves a player who has been incredible since his arrival at Villa Park in January, and that is, of course, Philippe Coutinho.


He’s played seven games so far, registering three goals and three assists, and Villa are reportedly looking to sign him on a permanent deal in the summer, with a buyout clause of £33 million allegedly in place. We’ve seen Coutinho add quality to the Villa side, and this is something that few other mid-table teams have at their disposal. He’s been a difference-maker and is clearly enjoying his football at the moment, which could be key behind the chances of him becoming a permanent member of the team.

Further Additions Needed?

One thing you cannot do in the Premier League is rest on what you have, you need to keep building, and that is exactly what Villa should look to do this summer. Yes, Coutinho on a permanent deal would be a huge coup for the club. But imagine how good his game would be if he had another top-end talent to work within the attacking half of the field. Since returning to the Premier League in 2019, the club has constantly found a way to progress and move forward. This has been done with great success so far and is a path that should be continued.

If that does happen, and Coutinho is joined by another quality addition, Aston Villa may find themselves within reach of European football at the end of next season.

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