23-year-old Southampton defender Matt Targett became Aston Villa’s first signing in July. Targett joined for a reported £11 million to help stabilize the left-back position.
Aston Villa’s weakest position group has a new face.
23-year-old Southampton left-back Matt Targett joins the claret and blue, penning a contract of undisclosed length for an undisclosed sum (reported £11 million with various kickers that can rise to £17 million).
As always, the official Twitter account had some fun with it:
Targett joins Neil Taylor and Kortney Hause on the left-back depth chart. For Villa, Targett represents a high-floor, low-ceiling ‘target’ that is needed for mid-table Premier League success. He’s not a game-changer in the top-flight, but then again so few left-backs actually are. At 6″1′, he is taller than your typical fullback, but don’t let that suggest he can’t be a factor in the attack.
Targett turns 24 in September. That, coupled with the lack of elite athleticism likely caps his ceiling some. Still, he’s an upgrade at the left-back position that desperately needed an injection of quality. With the Saints he frequently played wing-back in a 3-5-2 system, ceding most starts to former Villa loanee Ryan Bertrand, who was better suited for the position.
Under Dean Smith, it is likely Targett will be utilized in a more traditional full-back role. On the left, Targett will need to develop a cohort with teammates Anwar El Ghazi and Jack Grealish. If he can retain possession against the press better than Taylor, it should theoretically free up the above pair for more creative duties in the attack.
In any case, Villa got their month of July off to a quick start. In Targett, Villa got a much-needed player who has been a target of Dean Smith’s for quite some time. All that remains are two centre-backs, a midfielder, at least one forward, and, reportedly, a new goalkeeper.