24-year-old defender Frédéric Guilbert will be a welcome addition in the summer. The Caen player signed a 4.5-year contract with Aston Villa in the region of £5 million.
Frédéric Guilbert might go down as the most impactful Aston Villa signing of this January transfer window. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to see him in action until the summer. As part of the deal with French side Caen, Guilbert was loaned back for the remainder of the Ligue 1 season in order to fight a relegation battle.
It sucks, but it also makes a ton of sense. Alan Hutton is in the final few months of his deal while Ahmed Elmohamady’s runs through 2020. Guilbert will be the successor to those players when the season ends. Both fullback spots needed reinforcements for quite some time and Dean Smith wasted no time at improving. Fellow January signings Tyrone Mings, and to a lesser extent Kortney Hause, are capable at left-back to counteract Guilbert on the right.
To get game time in the interim, 21-year-old James Bree joined Ipswich Town on loan until the end of the season.
Will the competition between Guilbert and Bree raise the collective performance of the pair? That’s what Aston Villa is hoping, and paid for between the two players’ transfer sums. Guilbert, in particular, seems an intriguing player. He has not brought a lot offensively to the right-back position (thus far) in Ligue 1, but he is a steady defender who can fill-in at centre-half as well.
If Villa’s recent history in France is any indication, Guilbert will be quite the coup. Jordan Veretout, Idrissa Gana Gueye, and Jordan Amavi were all brought in during the dreaded relegation season of 2015/2016. However, all blossomed into top, top players as they entered their peak years.