Aston Villa should target a new left-back this window. It is inconceivable that the club carry on with just one senior left-back for much longer.
It’s great news that Neil Taylor is back fit and healthy after a few weeks out, but his absence only served to underline how crucial he is to the team at the moment.
He is incredibly, the only senior left-back that Villa have had for awhile and it’s hindering the team from making progress. A prime example is how badly Villa struggled in his absence to keep goals out and build any momentum. Alan Hutton filled in at the position and did not look the part.
It’s not Hutton’s natural position so it would be unfair to knock him too much, but he did make a few individual errors, such as against Stoke that cost the team goals; he isn’t completely absolved of blame either
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A goalkeeper and centre-back have already been signed early in the window so that’s two positions filled which needed strengthening.
I now believe left-back should be where Dean Smith and his team target next. There has been tentative links with Rico Henry and Yoann Barbet at Brentford. Smith knows both very well from his time there and would certainly provide competition if either were brought in.
Another option is to recall Mitch Clark from his loan at Port Vale (not sure if a recall clause is in his contract), who is comfortable all across the backline. Still just 19, he has played over 20 games this season and by all accounts seems to be enjoying his football (when healthy). I would suggest keeping him there until season’s end, letting him play most weeks to continue his development. I think that suits all parties rather than coming back here to just be backup to Taylor.
I think most Villa fans would agree with me that left-back is an area of concern at the moment so let’s hope the decision makers at the club are trying to rectify that problem.