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Which areas do Aston Villa need to strengthen this summer?

Which areas do Aston Villa need to strengthen this summer

Aston Villa have enjoyed two of their best seasons in a very long time since Unai Emery was appointed 18 months ago. Now, they will be focused on improving the squad for what will be one of the most exciting seasons in decades.

Unai Emery, Monchi and the rest of the recruitment team will be identifying ways to build on a fourth-placed Premier League finish that ensured they will play in the UEFA Champions League.

Having never played in the European Cup since it was rebranded in 1991/92, this is Villa’s first foray into Europe’s premier cup competition in 41 years.

 

Their remarkable achievement is all the more impressive when you consider Villa’s squad was ravaged by injuries last season. Hence, they must invest further in the squad to cope with the extra demands of top-level European football.

 

Aston Villa will play under UEFA rules next season and they will need to cap their spending on transfers, agent fees and wages to 80% of their overall revenue. The club’s revenue has increased to £217.7m recently and they will be limited in their ability to spend on players compared to the money spent by their rivals. It would also see a boost in the increase of Aston Villa tickets purchase.

 

However, the Lions are fortunate to have a manager who is capable of working with young and cheap talent. This is evidenced by how he kept getting players to perform in the absence of Tyrone Mings, Emi Buendia and Boubacar Kamara.

What do Villa need?

The expiration of Nicolo Zaniolo’s loan deal leaves an obvious gap on the left wing which is becoming a position of need. Zaniolo, Jacob Ramsey and Morgan Rogers delivered just eight goal contributions between them and there is space for another ball-carrying winger to complement Leon Bailey on the other flank.

 

That need for more flair in the forward areas has linked Villa with the likes of Crysencio Summerville and Nico Williams but they will compete with some top clubs for either signature. A backup for Ollie Watkins could also be key in multiple competitions but that could depend on the future of Jhon Duran, who has been linked with other clubs.

 

Lille forward Jonathan David is a likely target nonetheless. Staying with Villa’s forward play, Emery’s quick transitions require incisive passes in the final third which explains why they have reportedly accepted a fee in the region of £ 5 million for Ross Barkley.

 

Conor Gallagher is also of strong interest with Chelsea demanding around £50m but this could take a lot to complete as Tottenham and Atletico Madrid are also interested but the player is willing to bide his time over a move.

 

The Aston Villa midfield is a key component behind their success under Emery and the long-term injury to Boubacar Kamara put a lot of pressure on the likes of Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Jacob Ramsey and Youri Tielemans. There is a need for an extra body and PSG’s Carlos Soler or Gabri Veiga could be easy acquisitions.

 

In defence, both full-back positions need cover as Ezri Konsa and Matty Cash were constantly rotated at right-back while Lucas Digne is likely to depart and Alex Moreno has struggled to stay fit.

 

Villa will have Kosta Nedeljkovic joining up with the squad having signed in January but they are also closing in on the free signing of Atletico Madrid’s Mario Hermoso.

 

Meanwhile, they have initiated talks with representatives of Inter Milan’s Denzel Dumfries who registered four goals and six assists in 36 games as Inter won the Serie A.

The Dutchman’s contract expires in June 2025 and this is the Nerazzurri’s last chance to cash in on the right full-back, with no renewal in sight.

Who could leave Villa Park?

To bolster their squad for a daunting challenge next season, Villa will need to offload a few players to help balance the books as well as open up spaces in the squad for new signings.

 

One of their top assets who could be on the move is Douglas Luiz who has concrete interest from Juventus among others.

The Brazilian has two years left on his current deal and he has peaked in value after a stunning season during which he scored nine goals and provided five assists in 35 Premier League appearances last season.

 

The 26-year-old has been linked with a move away almost throughout his time at Villa Park and he could finally leave this summer if a serious offer arrives Monchi wants to bank a big sale with an eye on interesting incomings.

 

Another name on the transfer list of other clubs is Jhon Duran who is on Chelsea’s radar and has received enquiries from Italy, Saudi Arabia and Spain. If the Colombia international departs, then Villa would have to move on with plans to bring in Jonathan David or another striker to deputize for Ollie Watkins.

 

The Clarets & Blues could also cash in on Digne if they can find a suitable replacement, while AC Milan are currently looking to acquire Brazilian centre-back Diego Carlos.

 

Philippe Coutinho, Calum Chambers and Leander Dendoncker are three other players who could also be on their way out of Villa Park this summer.

Coutinho failed to live up to his high performances at Liverpool and is currently on loan in Qatar with Al-Duhail. He is under contract for another two years and Villa will have to take a loss having signed Coutinho for £17m in the summer of 2022.

 

Chambers has also been on the fringes of the team with seven appearances in all competitions last season and he was close to an exit in the January window before staying on till the end of the campaign.

 

Dendoncker is returning from a loan spell at Napoli who are very unlikely to take up the £8m buy option in his agreement after the 29-year-old only made three Serie A appearances.

 

Villa is in the decent position of needing to build from a place of strength and not out of desperation. The allure of Champions League football will also make it easy to attract stars and their limited scope for spending may not be a big problem given how effectively they’ve improved the squad under Emery.

 

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