Unai Emery has come into Aston Villa and turned their season around. After this disappointing start and eventual dismissal of Steven Gerrard, Unai Emery has taken Aston Villa to the top half of the table.
While under Gerrard, Aston Villa were one of the names mentioned in football betting tips for potential relegation candidates. Their side had plenty of players with experience, like Tyrone Mings and Ashley Young, but they weren’t clicking on the pitch.
Emery took over in October 2022 and the only two additions he made in the January transfer window were Spanish left back Alex Moreno from Real Betis and young Colombian striker Jhon Durán, who arrived from Chicago Fire in Major League Soccer
As we approach the end of the season, plans will be going into who stays and who they will be looking to add to the squad for the next season.
There aren’t many deals expiring this summer, with only Ashley Young and back up goalkeeper Jed Steer being stated on TransferMarkt.
With Young being 37, this looks set to be his last season as a player with the club while Steer may stay on with a lower and short-term contract, but it won’t be surprising to see him looking elsewhere this summer.
Potential Player Sales
Lucas Digne arrived in the January transfer window of 2022 for around £30 million from Premier League rivals Everton. Since the arrival of Moreno, Digne has struggled to find regular gametime and could be on the lookout for a new side in the summer as he will surely not want to spend any more time on the bench.
Players like Bertrand Traoré and Emmanuel Buendía and Leon Baily have not received regular minutes and could be moved on to free up space to bring in new players to freshen up the squad. The same can be said for Coutinho who has failed to live up to expectations since making his load permanent. The main issue with Coutinho is finding someone willing to pay his wages.
Areas of need in the summer
Full back is a key area Emery will need to focus on with bringing in depth, especially if Digne moves on.
At central defense, they have been without Diego Carlos, a big summer signing, though injury for long periods of the season. He, along with Mings and Ezri Konsa are the main central defenders, and Emery may look to a starter or back-up to add depth here too.
The attacking midfield roles are filled with players who have been inconsistent this season and given the chance, Emery may look to add a more threatening goal scorer and chance creator in this area.
Central midfield may be an area the look to bring in a talented starter over what they have already too.
With Matty Cash being the regular starter, a backup could be drafted in, and with Southampton having a poor season, dropping out of the Premier League, Kyle Walker-Pieters could be a good pick up. The full back has been a rare bright spark for the Saints and can play both on the right or left.
In central defense Aston Villa are performing well but another challenger for a starting role may be looked upon to keep pressure on those in the mix. Could this be a possible destination for Harry Maguire to recapture his form? Emery can get the best out of players and Maguire may be considered surplus to requirements at Manchester United this summer.
In the attacking midfield there could be a number of options. They need to find someone more clinical to help Ollie Watkins up front and take some of the pressure off his shoulders. Harvey Barnes could be a fun addition though shooting further, Ferran Torres has not had the return to La Liga he had hoped for with Barcelona and may be looking for more consistent minutes to keep his place in the Spanish National Team.
In central midfield, Emery could look to an enforcer. Someone who will break up play with a boat load of energy and competitiveness. We have seen how important Declan Rice is to West Ham or Casimero to Manchester United, and Emery could look to Kalvin Phillips or Manuel Ugarte to upgrade this position.
Phillips had struggled with injury when he arrived at Manchester City and failed to make an impact on the team this season. Ugarte has been a rock for Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, and could be tempted by the alure, and let’s face it, finances, of the Premier League.
Whoever they decide upon, life under Unai Emery is looking pretty positive for the midlands side. Aston Villa is a historic team in England and are beginning to rise back to the top half and European positions which they feel they deserve to be at.