In recent weeks we’ve seen the real Aston Villa. Over the last 10 league games, Villa have won five and mostly in a high-tempo, attacking style that Villa’s new manager promised when he joined the club. Here are five summer signings that would really see the Villa move forward next season provided they keep up this excellent form and stay in the Premier League.
Versatile enough to play in either central defence or midfield and possibly the only Sunderland AFC player that left Villa Park having not playing an absolutely dreadful game, even if he was a bit of a turd to Matt Lowton. Definitely one of former boss Martin O’Neill’s better signings and the giant French youth international could add some steel and composure into Villa’s midfield. Having the luxury of choosing from; Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Karim El Ahmadi, Gary Gardner (Craig’s younger, better brother), Yacouba Sylla and N’Diaye would give competition and quality in abundance.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a 23-year-old striker that Villa were heavily linked with in the build up to the close of the transfer window, before eventually signing the goal machine that is Christian Benteke. The Saint-Étienne hotshot has 19 league goals already in Ligue 1 and has helped ASSE win their first major domestic silverware in over 20 years. Unfortunately he would have to be a replacement for Benteke as I don’t seriously think that we could afford both of them; I’d much prefer the giant Belgian Holte End hero to be leading the line next season but in the event that he is sold, Aubameyang would make an exciting replacement. That said, bigger clubs have been linked to Ligue 1’s second highest scorer this season and it would perhaps be a shock to see him move to Villa whether Benteke is sold or not.
The left back position is one that certainly needs strengthening at Villa. I’m actually a fan of Joe Bennett and think that the stick that he gets off some fans is disgusting, but with him being the only recognised first team left back there should at least be some competition added. Willems is an attacking young full back currently plying his trade at PSV in the Eredivisie and he’s already been capped several times for the Netherlands national team, albeit mostly in an appalling showing at Euro 2012 in which they failed to win a single match. Perhaps what we need is experience and not more prospects, but it is definitely exciting having such a young, attacking team. That is of course unless Southampton are stupid enough to sell us Luke Shaw for a reasonable price, which I highly doubt they are…
At 24-years-old Simon Kjær is hardly toward the end of his career, but the Danish international central defender already has 33 outings for his country and over 150 first team club appearances. Currently playing in the Bundesliga at VFL Wolfsburg, a move to a club that has flirted so dangerously with relegation may not be at the top of his agenda, especially after being in a similar fight with his own team this season. The Premier League however is a big draw, and supposing Villa manage to stay in it there’s always a chance that a player who almost signed for Real Madrid as a youngster and has been linked with clubs of the stature of Manchester United and Arsenal in the past might just fancy getting a taste of the action.
Luciano Narsingh is a 22-year-old winger and another venture into the Eredivisie that I’d like to see Paul Lambert make. Having sometimes lacked width and creativity out wide this season, it’s a signing that would not only give Villa more options but also a more direct approach against teams that are happy to sit back and let the claret and blue midfield try to pass their way through. Having been playing first team football since he was just 18-years-old, Narsingh has made a big contribution to PSV’s title chase against rivals Ajax that looks set to go to the wire.
Ultimately though I hadn’t heard of Matt Lowton, Ashley Westwood or Christian Benteke before they were linked with Villa this season and they have been some of Paul Lambert’s best signings, and Villa’s best players that I can remember in the last few years. I fully expect him to sign a total of zero of these listed players (allow me to dream) but I’m now certain that whoever he signs they will be a huge success and pretty exciting.