Robbie Savage tells Newcastle United what Steven Gerrard would never ‘tolerate’ at Aston Villa



Robbie Savage has told Newcastle United how Steven Gerrard’s appointment at Aston Villa has underlined the “value” of hiring a big-name manager.

Villa head coach Gerrard has pulled off two sensational transfers in January having landed Philippe Coutinho and then following it up with a £25m swoop for Everton’s Lucas Digne.

And with Villa linked with a move for Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma, the signs are that Villa can expect an exciting end to the January window.

By contrast, and despite being backed by the riches of Saudi owners, Newcastle have signed Kieran Trippier and paid £25m to Burnley to sign Chris Wood.

And Savage says Newcastle are seeing why Gerrard’s legacy as a former Liverpool and England captain has enabled him to pull off two incredible deals.

He told the Mirror : “Steven Gerrard’s fantastic business in the transfer window at Aston Villa underlines the value of a big-name manager.

“To bring in Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona, and completing the £25million purchase of Lucas Digne from Everton, shows the pulling power of Gerrard’s personality – and of Villa as a big club.

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“To be honest, those two players are of the calibre Newcastle United fans might be expecting to sign in this window.

“Instead – and no disrespect to Chris Wood, who was consistent and valued at Burnley – they have signed a 30-year-old centre-forward for £25 million.

“Newcastle may be the richest club in the world on paper, but spending money is not as simple as writing a cheque.

“Eddie Howe did an exceptional job at Bournemouth, and I wish him well on Tyneside. But I do wonder what the reaction among the fans would have been if Steve Bruce was still in charge and he had signed Chris Wood?

“I must stress: I like Wood. He was an excellent focal point up front for Burnley, fitted the way they play, he is an under-rated No.9-type striker and the deal weakens Newcastle’s relegation rivals.

“But back in October, when Bruce was on borrowed time, I said Newcastle should go for Gerrard because his pulling power would be ideal, a standard-bearer for those marvellous 52,000 fans who turn up at St James’ Park every week.

“Newcastle signed Chris Wood, while Aston Villa were bagging Coutinho and Digne.

“As Gerrard is proving at Villa, he has clout, he has contacts and big-name players want to work for him.

“Let me put it this way: If Gerrard had been manager of Newcastle, and he was offering exactly the same money for Coutinho and Digne as Aston Villa, I would have expected those players to sign for Gerrard.

“That’s no reflection on Howe. It’s just a comment on Gerrard’s standing in the game as a Champions League winner, a former England captain and a manager who led Rangers to an invincible season, ending Celtic’s decade of domination north of the border.

“As for Gerrard, who I expect to finish in the top half with Villa this season, I will make one last observation.

“I suspect he would have taken more than six points from his first eight league games at Newcastle. And he wouldn’t have tolerated being knocked out of the FA Cup at home by Cambridge.”

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