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Steven Gerrard vows Aston Villa are determined to keep top stars after Emi Martinez agrees new deal

Steven Gerrard has warned Villa have no desire to sell their best players after convincing “world class” Emi Martinez to commit his long-term future.

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The goalkeeper yesterday signed a new five-and-a-half year contract in a huge boost to the club and Gerrard, just 10 weeks into his managerial reign.

Martinez is among Villa’s most prized assets, having established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League since joining from Arsenal in September 2020.

Another key man, midfielder John McGinn, is rumoured to be a summer target for Manchester United.

But while accepting such attention from other clubs is inevitable, such have been the standard of the Scot’s performances this season, Gerrard warned Villa have no intention of losing their top performers.

He said: “We are certainly not a club that is looking to sell. We don’t want to be a selling club unless there is a situation, as with (Jack) Grealish, which works itself out if you like.

“Our intention is to keep John McGinn here. We love the player, we love the human being and we want to help him. We want him to remain a Villa player and we can’t be any clearer on that.

“I think it is normal when your best players are linked with moves and there is a lot of noise around them. I see that as a compliment more than anything because if they weren’t linked then maybe they are not top players and maybe not as good as we think.”

Martinez has expressed his desire to win major trophies with Villa and Gerrard believes the keeper’s commitment will help the club’s efforts when it comes to attracting players and keeping others on board.

The head coach outlined his own ambitious vision for the future during talks with the Argentina international earlier this month.

Gerrard said: “In everyone’s opinion, Emi’s right up there with the best in the world.

“For us to go on this journey and get to the destination we all want to get to you need as many good footballers as you can around.

“He’s above good – we know that – he’s operating at a world class level so it is a statement and having his services here will help me attract more talent and also to retain the talent we’ve got in the door.”

Gerrard, meanwhile, has ruled out adding another centre-forward this month following reports linking Villa with a swoop for his former Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez.

The boss remains keen to sign a centre-back before the end of the month but will only move for one of his preferred targets.

“I’m hoping we can get a solution this window but if the right one doesn’t come we might have to be creative until the next window,” he said.

“But it is an area we will be actively trying to add in the coming days. There are a few things bubbling away.

"We're not after a centre-forward in this window. That's as clear as I can be.

"I think during these windows everyone puts two and two together and a lot of names are bandied around.

"I obviously know Luis extremely well. He's top class and has been a world class footballer throughout his career so I understand the links but we're not after a centre-forward, whether it be Luis or anybody else."

Winger Jaden Philogene-Bidace has joined Stoke on loan, while Cameron Archer could be allowed to depart for a Championship club next week.