Managers love their former players. Dean Smith is no exception to this. Aston Villa is interested in bringing Brentford defender Yoann Barbet to Villa Park when the January transfer window opens.
From the Express & Star, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has made his former defender Yoann Barbet a target for the club. After a 3-2 weekend defeat to Leeds United, Smith let it be known that defensive reinforcements are a priority with a Tommy Elphick loan recall from Hull City a possibility.
Villa are without Axel Tuanzebe for a few weeks, leaving James Chester as the sole natural central defender available. James Bree, 20, a nominal right-back, has filled in comfortably these last two league matches. But Smith needs more, specifically a left-back and a centre-back to mount a successful promotion challenge.
So why not complete that task with one player?
That seems to be the thinking with interest in 25-year-old French defender Yoann Barbet. Barbet is a natural central defender at 6’2″, who’s equally adept at sliding over to left-back – as he’s done this season with Brentford.
Ever since the departures of Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker, Villa have gone without a left-footed centre-half in the squad. While it’s not necessary, it does provide an element of comfort for a player on his better foot.
With Barbet, Villa would have 3 solidly good options at centre-back to choose from. Moreover, foot injuries are very meticulous and it is no guarantee Tuanzebe returns at 100%. John Terry broke his foot last November, returned in January, and didn’t quite look the same.
Health permitting, Smith can choose from Hutton-Chester-Barbet-Taylor, Hutton-Tuanzebe-Chester-Barbet, or a 5-3-2 of Elmohamady, Tuanzebe, Chester, Barbet, Taylor backline.
The options are more bountiful, and an acquisition of Yoann Barbet would help Aston Villa’s promotion challenge immensely. He’ll be 26 by season’s end, too, most likely entering his peak years.