Today, Leicester City fullback Ritchie De Laet completed a £2.5 million pound move to Aston Villa, penning a three-year deal in the process.
Dr. Tony Xia completed his seventh signing of the summer adding the Belgian fullback Ritchie De Laet to his Villa Park defense. De Laet leaves Leicester City with 115 appearances to his name, and a Premier League title to boot. After limited playing time last campaign, Claudio Ranieri found a loan opportunity more beneficial to the twenty-seven year old De Laet–who went on to make ten appearances with Middlesbrough after a January window loan.
De Laet, who primarily plays right back, but is capable all across the back line, will most likely be handed the reigns as first choice right back. He is known as a strong attacker on the right side–often moving high up the pitch in order to provide width and crossing ability. While stout defensively, his awareness on the pitch is often lacking–a real problem when forced high on the right side.
Ironically, De Laet scored the first goal in that 2-0 Villa collapse that saw Jack Grealish score for the first time in the Premier League. Leicester went on to win 3-2 after three unanswered second-half goals.
Fortunately for Roberto Di Matteo and Aston Villa, De Laet is a notable improvement over the likes of Leandro Bacuna, Alan Hutton, and Micah Richards. Improving the weakest link will yield the most benefit to this Villa club as they seek a top-six finish.
The back four of Jordan Amavi, James Chester, Tommy Elphick, and now Ritchie De Laet remain the most talented back line in the Football League Championship. With two goals conceded in four league games, the timing is right for Aston Villa to go on a good run of matches with multiple wins.
Aston Villa travel to Bristol City on Saturday.