Who should Aston Villa be looking to sign to help keep them in the Premier League?
After a roller-coaster season, Aston Villa have retained their Premier League status for next season. On the final day, a 1-1 draw with West Ham was all it took to keep the Villains in the top flight. But positive results as of late have really papered over the cracks of an underwhelming season. Recruitment has certainly not completely lived up to the expectation of the £140 million price tag on their summer splurge.
Smith knows that further investment will be needed if the club are to remain in the Premier League over the next few years. But how can Villa look to bolster their side for next season? We have taken a look at five potential new signings that Smith should keep an eye on.
Eberechi Eze (QPR) – £20 million
Over the past couple of seasons 22 year old Eze has attracted the interest of many top flight clubs. After a successful season at QPR in which he racked up 14 goals and 8 assists in the Championship, Eze will look to move on during this summer transfer window. But if Aston Villa are to acquire his talents, then they face stiff competition. Spurs, West Ham and Crystal Palace are also said to be interested- with the prospect of staying in his hometown of London a possible coo for the above sides. So where would the creative midfielder fit in Smith’s side?
Well, without Grealish, Villa lack creativity. Whilst they are the 6th most creative side in the top division, with Grealish looking likely to leave, this creativity may need to reinforcing. Eze looks to be an answer to that. He averages 3 dribbles per game as well as 1.8 key passes, linking the midfield to the attack. He also scores goals. This is something Villa have lacked all season and will need to improve on. Eze also looks a good price- with QPR setting a rumoured £20 million figure on his signature. With Financial Fair Play restrictions lifted due to the pandemic, Villa may be able capitalise on such a reasonable figure. The Englishman is also young, fitting into Smith’s youthful project he typically abides by. The prospect of Eze playing in front of McGinn and Douglas Luiz in a midfield three will excite Villa fans, and would be a joy to witness should they get the deal done.
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) – £15/20 million
Bournemouth’s relegation to the Championship has opened up the opportunity for a few of their talents to leave. It is understood that striker Callum Wilson will look to leave the Cherries in his pursuit of top flight football. This gives Villa an upper hand, as they can lure the 28 year old with the prospect of featuring in the Premier League. But once again Villa will face competition. Spurs have reportedly tabled a £10 million bid, with Chelsea also keen. Wilson only managed 8 goals during the 19/20 campaign, with Solanke often picked instead. However, his goal tally still beats the combined total of Villa’s three current strikers- proving how desperate the Villains have been for a finisher. So, what would Wilson’s role be at Villa?
Well, it would appear he would compete with Wesley for a first team role. The Brazilian’s injury on New Years Day proved almost fatal for Villa and their desperation for Premier League experience was obvious. This is something that Wilson would offer. He also offers more of a potent threat than current forward Ally Samatta. The Tanzanian averages 1.2 shots per game, with Wilson averaging 1.6- suggesting Callum would offer a bigger goal threat. Villa’s chance creation ,as highlighted before, is not their downfall- it is lacking someone to put those chances away. The signing of Wilson would really show Villa’s intent. A capped England national with years of Premier League experience is exactly what Villa need up front and would be a fantastic signing for Smith.
Ollie Watkins (Brentford) – £20 million
24 year old attacker Ollie Watkins has impressed massively this season. He has managed to score 25 goals in 47 matches for Brentford in the Championship. This remarkable goal tally has caught the eye of an abundance of sides. West Ham, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Southampton have all been reported as showing interest in Watkins. If Villa were to sign Watkins then they would have to act quick as pressure mounts for his signature elsewhere. But would Watkins contribute enough to Villa in the Premier League?
Watkins’ goal threat would be the main reason behind this deal. Dean Smith would be hoping that the 24 year old’s nippy and quick bursts of pace would unlock opponent’s defences. Pace has been an element of play lacked massively by Aston Villa. Current wingers Grealish and Trezeguet have struggled to beat defenders through their speed, relying more on skill and technique. This will be a crucial part of Villa’s recruitment in the summer as new wingers will be branded a must in order to help the side develop. Another, and rather major, reason why Watkins may be tempted by Aston Villa is because of manager Dean Smith’s history. Smith linked up with Watkins at Brentford during his reign at the Bees. This may be a reason that Watkins chooses the Villains over rival Premier League clubs. Another factor in the decision may be the fate of Brentford. They currently face a play-off battle in the Championship- failure to gain promotion would almost certainly force Watkins to leave the club and may allow Villa to capitalise on a discounted price.
Gleison Bremer (Torino) – £10 million
Of all the players on this list, centre half Gleison Bremer may be the only one you may not have heard of. The 23 year old signed for Serie A side Torino back in 2018 and has impressed massively this season. The Brazilian has made 24 appearances so far this season, averaging 2.3 tackles, 2.9 interceptions and 4 clearances per match. The stats are strong considering Torino currently sit fifth from bottom in the Serie A table and have shipped a lot of goals this season. Bremer also has the experience of European football after playing six times in the Europa League during the 19/20 campaign. This is something I am sure would excite Smith but how could Villa accommodate Bremer?
Defence has been a major issue for Aston Villa all season. The side have conceded the most goals in the Premier League but seemed to have steadied the ship as of late. This may present a good opportunity for Smith to look to bolster his backline as they head into the new campaign. Mings and Konsa seems to be the preferred pairing at the back, with Hause and Engels playing understudy. Bremer would certainly be competing with Smith’s preferred duo, perhaps offering healthy competition. Bremer’s style also suits Smith’s. The Torino man is very physical in his play but is also comfortable dribbling the ball out of defence- similar qualities to that of Tyrone Mings. The reported fee is also reasonable. Villa have previously aimed at spending £10 million per new signing so there would appear to be no issues in financing the deal.
Gleison Bremer (23) 🇧🇷 vs Verona
• 51 touches
• 72% pass accuracy
• 4 clearances
• 1 blocked shot
• 8 interceptions
• 6 tackles
• 9 ground duels won
• 4 aerial duels won
— Serie A Scout (@SerieAScout) July 22, 2020
Joe Hart – Free Agent
Completing a fairly pricey lineup is freebie Joe Hart. The 33 year old left Burnley last month and is now without a club. A fairly local lad, born in Shropshire, Hart seems a viable option to help ease Villa’s keeping woes. The former Birmingham man has been capped over 70 times for the national side, as well as having a spell at Serie A club Torino back in 2017. But Hart is most famous for his time at Manchester City, racking up over 300 appearances and 5 major trophies. This level of experience is exactly what Villa went for when signing Pepe Reina in January and, now he has left, the club may look to do so again. So why would Villa need Hart?
Hart would appear to be a very solid signing. Following Heaton’s injury on January 1st, Aston Villa have looked for a commanding figure between the sticks. Reina seemed to be the solution, but now that his loan has ended- Villa will need to look elsewhere. Nyland and Steer have both stepped in when called upon by Smith. But now may be the time where the Villains look to bolster their squad with experienced Premier League players who can organise the side accordingly. This is where Hart would come in- as a first team option until Heaton returned from injury and also as an experienced voice to assure Villa’s back line.
Would you take a punt on free-agent Joe Hart at your club?
His latest odds ↓ https://t.co/dEcTmWapku
— Oddschanger (@Oddschanger) July 29, 2020
We hope you enjoyed this article “Five players Aston Villa should watch.” Who you think Villa should sign? Let us know!
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