Steven Gerrard was at the Stade Velodrome on Wednesday night to watch Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara in their 3-2 win over Nantes. Aston Villa chiefs Christian Purslow and Johan Lange were also in attendance to cast an eye over the 22-year-old Frenchman, who will be available on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of June.
He is understood to be one of several names on Villa’s summer shortlist with the club set to prioritise the signing of a defensive midfielder.
Gerrard was also at the Wanda Metropolitano last week to watch Atletico Madrid’s Geoffrey Kondogbia in the ill-tempered Champions League draw with Manchester City.
Furthermore, the former Liverpool captain also kept tabs on PSV’s Ibrahim Sangare and 20-year-old Englishman Noni Madueke in the 0-0 Conference League draw with Leicester at the King Power Stadium in early April.
Kamara has been monitored by a number of Europe’s top clubs including Manchester United, who turned down the chance to sign him last summer.
Tottenham managed to pip Villa to the signing of Uruguayan international Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus in January, a move that has already paid dividends for Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici.
Luis Suarez had even offered his close friend and former Liverpool team-mate Gerrard a glowing review of his compatriot.
Brighton also rejected a £25million offer from Villa for Yves Bissouma and Gerrard could yet return for the Mali international.
Like Luiz, Bissouma will also be entering the final 12 months of his contract, meaning the Seagulls may now have to consider a sale to avoid losing him on a free transfer further down the line.
However, Villa are seemingly keen to also explore other avenues, which is why Gerrard has been attending several matches across the continent in the past few weeks.
The Villa boss has already demonstrated the immense pulling power his reputation within the game carries following the January acquisitions of Philippe Coutinho (loan) and Lucas Digne.
As it stands, Villa currently sit 15th in the Premier League table and the position is unlikely to be tolerated if Gerrard continues to splash the cash in the Midlands.
That’s why there is an appreciation that Villa must ensure they’re spending money wisely in order to fast-track their route back into the top half, towards Europe.