The Athletic’s Gregg Evans has revealed why Aston Villa did not decide to sign a central midfielder in this summer’s transfer market.
When the transfer window slammed shut, Dean Smith probably felt fairly satisfied with his club’s business. Captain Jack Grealish may have been sold, but the likes of Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendia, Ashley Young, Leon Bailey and Axel Tuanzebe had all arrived to bolster his squad.
Still, it was no secret that the Villans wanted a new central midfielder, with James Ward-Prowse the number-one target. When the Southampton captain signed a new contract, however, that pursuit quickly came to an end.
Evans has now explained why Villa did not then go and bring in an alternative option. Speaking on the 1874 podcast, he said: “If they could find a player, i.e. Ward-Prowse, who they thought would come in and significantly improve the midfield, they would have done that.
“It wasn’t a case of ‘let’s just get anybody in’ – the case of Borja Baston a couple of seasons ago, just a filler, just to fill a space; Tom Carroll, for example, you know, there’s endless examples.
“Villa didn’t need just a man to fill the numbers. They wanted somebody who could come in and significantly improve the team. Ward-Prowse was the option, they couldn’t get him.”
TIF Thoughts on Aston Villa and their midfield…
Villa certainly aren’t short of options in central midfield. Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Morgan Sanson, Marvelous Nakamba and Jacob Ramsey all give Smith plenty of names to pick from.
Add to that, rising star Carney Chukwuemeka – who started in the club’s last Premier League game – and it’s easy to see why the club didn’t just go out and bring any random name in for the sake of it.
Experienced man Conor Hourihane did leave the club on loan, however, so Villa may yet address this position when the transfer market reopens next January.