Steven Gerrard has dropped his biggest transfer hint yet and it could well involve a free agent or two arriving at Aston Villa this summer. Gerrard, 41, was in Marseille last month watching on as soon-to-be free agent Boubacar Kamara (above) starred in their 3-2 win over Nantes.

Gerrard’s former teammate Luis Suarez is also available without a fee following the conclusion of his Atletico Madrid contract, with the 35-year-old Uruguayan continually linked with a move to Villa Park to help bolster Villa’s attacking ranks. Other notable players who are all set to become available for nothing this summer include Burnley’s James Tarkwoski, Divock Origi of Liverpool, Man United ace Jesse Lingard, Rangers’ Conor Goldson and Arsenal duo Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah.

Gerrard, meanwhile, was asked about wanting his summer signings done as early as possible and, ideally, in time for the first week of pre-season in July. “Of course, we want them in as early as possible,” he said, “but the transfer window isn’t open yet so my hands are tied.

READ MORE: The two Aston Villa players Steven Gerrard has challenged ahead of transfer decisions

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“I want them in yesterday. The quicker you get them in, the quicker you can get them settled. In an ideal world you want all your business done for when you come back for the first day of pre-season but that is unrealistic because people go away and do different things.”

The Villa chief then added a little bit more detail about the transfer “process” and, unprompted, referenced the free agent market. “A transfer is a process,” Gerrard continued. “It is not just the case of making a bid and them saying yes or no.

“In my shoes you have to be patient but yeah, I’d love them in yesterday and in for a full pre-season. There is obviously a free market as well which can be a bit different. You can bring them in a bit quicker. We are working as hard as we can and I can assure our supporters next season we will be more competitive, for sure.”

Villa do, though, seem close to one or two new additions ahead of the summer transfer window opening on June 10, as Gerrard added: “In terms of being set in the final plan, the transfer window hasn’t opened yet. We are still a way off where we want to be in terms of being set for next season. Things are moving at different speeds for different players so we are hoping to have some news as soon as we can. There are a few pieces not too far away. But in terms of being set as a whole it could go on and run through the window.”

This week, Gerrard was dealt the crushing blow of losing Ezri Konsa for the next 16 weeks with the centre-back in line to miss the first month of next season. Villa, meanwhile, have been extensively linked with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and Marseille man Duje Caleta-Car as Gerrard plans to bolster his centre-back options ahead of the new campaign in August. However, the head coach did stress that Konsa’s injury hasn’t altered his transfer plans at the back.

“It hasn’t changed drastically, no,” he said. “It is disappointing he won’t be part of pre-season, in terms of being with the group.

“At the time, seeing it live, I was fearing the worst. When you see someone like Ezri, who doesn’t normally go down let alone go off, and the noise that came from the incident, I was concerned we would be dealing with an ACL. I’m pretty relieved it is not that case.

“It is important now the medical team do a job with him over pre-season and try and get him back as safely and as quickly as they can because he is very important to us.

“In terms of recruiting on the back of the incident, we won’t do that. We have plans and areas of the team we will remain focused on.”

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