Aston Villa had their answer to the squad’s central midfield conundrum: Jordan Veretout. The claret and blue subsequently loaned him out to Ligue 1’s Saint-Etienne, where he has since flourished.
Jordan Veretout is undoubtedly a polarizing figure in the world of football. Veretout went from extremely highly-rated youngster, to Championship outcast, to Juventus target all in the course of one and a half seasons.
Who is at fault for this misjudgment of talent? Is anyone to blame?
Now 23, the French youth international spent his academy career at FC Nantes before his début at the age of eighteen.
Over 130 appearances later, and Veretout moved towards the greener pastures of Premier League football with a move to Aston Villa. Then manager Tim Sherwood and previous ownership hoped he would develop into a world class central midfielder – one capable of filling a variety of roles as a holding player and more advanced attacker.
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Veretout’s maiden season in the Premier League was rather mixed – a whole hell of a lot better than we can say for much of the Aston Villa squad.
Veretout started twenty-one Premier League contests completing 83% of his passes with five assists.
During Aston Villa’s best run (mind you, best run refers to a handful of draws, a win or two, and half a dozen losses), Veretout featured on the right-hand side of a midfield diamond. Ashley Westwood anchored the base with Idrissa Gana Gueye out left (we miss you), and Carles Gil at the point.
Veretout’s versatility would have been a blessing for this current Aston Villa crop. Veretout has the legs to play alongside Mile Jedinak, Veretout has the incisiveness to flourish alongside Ashley Westwood, and Veretout has the consistency to mitigate Gary Gardner’s performance fluctuations.
Jordan Veretout with a sublime Ligue 1 strike against Caen (N’Golo Kanté’s old club).
In sixteen Ligue 1 appearances this season, Veretout has again registered an 83% pass success rate with one goal and two assists over 1333 minutes of football. Moreover, Veretout has shown great restraint with only one booking; he is often deployed in a deeper holding role for Saint-Etienne.
Veretout made a further five appearances in the UEFA Europa League where his performance is notably consistent with his league matches – a sign of growth in a player.
Where does this leave Aston Villa? Can they call back the loan? Probably not. It is unlikely Saint-Etienne would have agreed to that in the loan framework. Reportedly, Veretout’s performance this season have drawn the eyes of Juventus scouts who are interested in the player.
Veretout signed a five year deal in his original transfer. That leaves Villa with three years of additional control after the completion of this European season.