With the arrivals of Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause and Ezri Konsa this summer at Aston Villa, along with James Chester and James Bree being options in the middle of defence, we are also linked with a move for Stade Reims defender Bjorn Engels.
With Villa being left notoriously short in the heart of defence last season, whilst most fans are happy to see us strengthen and increase depth, the Engels decision certainly seems a curious one on face value – but I guess it depends on how you see Hause/Konsa as potential for the future.
With it sparking the debate, and leading to obvious Chester questions, Vital Villa member Tony J gave his thoughts on the number of incomings we’ve seen.
Writer: Tony J
I know some fans are puzzled at the prospect of a fourth incoming centre back and, to be fair, I was too initially. However, Smith has evidently tracked Engels for some time and is familiar with the skills he brings. It is also absolutely clear that any new side in the Premier League needs to have a resolute defence to have half a chance of staying up. Cover at the heart of the back line is key.
There have been suggestions that Engels might be seen as another option in the midfield ‘pivot’ role, just in front of the back line, if required. However, I wonder if Konsa might better suit that option. Ultimately, the likely acquisition of Douglas Luiz will probably relegate other parties down to covering roles in the position.
With other theories including the option of a back three and doubts being raised in regard to James Chester’s knee condition, the thought of so many defenders quickly becomes a more understandable situation.
The big bonus with our recruitment lies with the majority of our purchases being completed (or nearly completed) with a month to go before the season gets underway. This will help the manager integrate the new players and develop tactics and style ready for the off.
With so much recruitment, it does beg the question whether any players will move on. There are perhaps a handful that may be considering their chances of playing with any regularity next season and maybe we will see some movement, now Dean Smith is fairly confident of the options he will have at his disposal. Equally, I am sure Christian Purslow would not object to a few credits emerging on the accounts after such a busy summer.