Villa’s January business says NSWE, Steven Gerrard, or both, are looking for immediate impact, it seems. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they make a noticeable impact. You can’t have an entire team of projects, after all. Perhaps Phil and Lucas offer enough experience and nous to help the team’s mindset, never mind the set-up.
Whether this illustrates a demand for European places this year, can’t say. Whether this is meant to pre-empt sides like Newcastle? Can’t say. Whether this is part of the promises made to Gerrard to convince him to come, can’t say. Could very well be all of the above.