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Gerrard announces new addition as Edens and Sawiris close in on MLS club

Welcome to all the Aston Villa news from BirminghamLive on Wednesday, December 8.

Vegas Villans

Aston Villa owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are ‘closing in on’ a new Major League Soccer franchise.

MLS commissioner Don Garber has held a state of the league briefing in which he revealed Las Vegas is the favourite city to be awarded the organisation’s 30th team.

And website Sport Business claims Edens and Sawiris are ‘believed to be the ownership group of the prospective team’.

“We’re making progress in Las Vegas…I’m just blown away with what is happening in Las Vegas. We are very bullish on the market,” Garber said, before adding he hoped to strike a deal in the next ten months even though the stadium situation is ‘fluid’ at present.

The website also points out that Bill Foley, the owner of ice hockey franchise, Vegas Golden Knights, recently said he will no longer be the lead investor in efforts to bring the MLS to Nevada.

And they claim that only this summer the Edens group filed a trademark for “ Las Vegas Villains ”, suggesting that could be the new franchise’s name.

Edens and Sawiris saved Villa from financial trouble in the summer of 2018, since when the club has escaped the Championship and become established back in the Premier League.

It is estimated the club have spent £300million on transfers under their ownership and they recently appointed Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as manager.

It is thought it would cost Sawiris and Edens around £239million for the license for the MLS team.

Start the engines

Villa fans are loving the idea of a similar kind of relationship to the one enjoyed by Manchester City and New York City FC.

Indeed many have made the same point.

@itsfle7ch: Start the engines lads… #AVFC fans on tour of Las Vegas in 2025

kathrynxjane: Road trip to Vegas preseason?

@jokers_tailor: Villa Las Vegas would obviously be miles better.

@stevenmdunne: Las Vegas Villans? You’re god damn right it is

@amc89avfc: God damn, I love this!

GW_94: Vegas away in pre season incoming

@Vinnieno41: So down for the away day

Never came

Jurgen Klopp admits he expected Aston Villa target Divock Origi to leave Liverpool during the summer transfer window.

Origi, 26, has scored lots of crucial goals for Liverpool down the years and netted a stoppage time winner against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

In nine appearances for the Reds this season, Origi has managed four goals.

Klopp can’t guarantee the Belgian playing time at Anfield though with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota – all of whom feature in the top four of the Premier League’s scoring charts – and Roberto Firmino ahead of him in the pecking order.

Origi only featured nine times in the Premier League last term, hence why Klopp was surprised to hang onto the striker.

“If I was in another club I would go for him,” Klopp said after Origi’s latest match-winning contribution. “I thought it would happen, that’s true – because he didn’t have massive game time.

“I am very happy that he’s still here. I didn’t expect it to happen, but I wouldn’t have been surprised (if he left last summer).”

No contact

Rangers insiders insist there has been no contact between the Ibrox outfit and Aston Villa over the future of Borna Barisic.

The left back had previously been mentioned among the players who could follow Steven Gerrard to Villa, along with the likes of Ryan Kent, Connor Goldson and Glen Kamara.

However, the Gers’ media partners Heart & Hand dismissed the suggestion as false.

Indeed Barisic was quizzed about his future in an interview in his homeland of Croatia in May and addressed talk of a potential move to the Premier League or beyond.

Dog’s life

Aston Villa head coach Steven Gerrard has announced a new addition to his family.

The Premier League manager has revealed that he has a new puppy and he couldn’t help but share an adorable pic of the dog with his fans on social media.

The Gerrard family already has a pet poodle and now there is another dog in the household.

Sharing a snap of himself cuddling the tiny pup, Steven said: “Allowed out today this one”, with a heart-eyed face emoji.

Gerrard’s fans rushed to comment on the heart-warming picture, and Villa supporters piled in with a few jokes.

@ lmechegaray : Give it a week and he’ll turn the pup into the meanest, toughest center mid in the prem

@ TWiseNC : A biting #6. See what I did there?

@ dedroc22 : Gorgeous!!

@ afruzpayande : “Aawww so cute”

Liverpool legend Gerrard has made an impressive start as Villa’s head coach.

His team have won three of their last four games since his appointment last month and sit inside the top half of the Premier League table.

Decision time

New Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick will need to make a decision on the future of Aston Villa loanee Axel Tuanzebe this month.

Rangnick, 63, has succeeded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Old Trafford dugout after being named United’s interim manager until the end of the season.

United have six more games to play in the month of December, but Rangnick will already be drawing up plans for the January transfer window.

One of his decisions will centre around defender Tuanzebe, who can be recalled from his latest loan spell at Villa Park once the window opens.

Tuanzebe has started eight games for Villa this season and played his first minutes under Steven Gerrard in the win over Leicester City at the weekend.

Rangnick has five senior centre-backs already at his disposal in captain Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Phil Jones, although the latter hasn’t featured in a first team game since January 26, 2020 due to injury.

German coach Rangnick will need to decide whether Tuanzebe’s development is best served at Villa for the remainder of the campaign.

Villa have already been linked with a loan move for Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez. If Tuanzebe remains at Villa Park, the club can only sign one more loan player domestically.

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