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THE RIGHT BACK SAGA! Will Aston Villa SIGN A Right Back This Summer?

Unai Emery has got off to a wonderful start as Aston Villa manager. They sit 6th in the table and Europe looks a real possibility.

No matter how this amazing season finishes, Villa will look to strengthen in the summer. In the January transfer window, Emery signed two players, and despite his exceptional start as gaffer, he will definitely be looking to sign more players this summer to continue improving the squad.


The signing of Alex Moreno from Real Betis has been nothing short of a fantastic bit of business. He already has three assists, has a 78.2% pass succession and is averaging 1.5 succesful dribbles and 1.5 key passes per ninety.

He has massively contributed to Emery's system offensively, a lot of Villa's attacking play goes through him down the left hand side, and whilst there have been some concerns about the defensive side to his game, Villa have only conceded two in their last eight and aren't leaking many clear cut chances, so the defensive part to his game can't be too bad.


Moreno is always the furthest forward out of the back four, and the back four almost becomes a back three as Alex Moreno pushes further forward and the right back, whether it's Ashley Young or Matty Cash, stays back and forms a back three with Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings.

Because of the way Moreno bombs on forward, this means the right back has to be a bit more cautious and stay back. Former Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal stated when he was managing the Netherlands that, "full backs have to act as a steering wheel... if Dumfries goes forward, Malacia stays back," and a lot of other managers at the top level have similar thinking, one of which being Unai Emery.


It's no secret that Aston Villa have considerable interest in bringing a right back in this summer. Last season's player of the season Matty Cash hasn't been half the player he was this time twelve months ago, and has arguably been outclassed by a thirty seven year old Ashley Young who's out of contract at the end of the season. Even if Young was to sign on for one more year, we would still need more competition in the position.


Villa have been linked with a few right backs over the past few weeks or so. We've narrowed it down to four, and we'll talk about each one as a player, how much they'd cost and what they can offer to Unai Emery's system.


Kyle Walker - Manchester City #2


Kyle Walker is a thirty two year old English right back who plays for Manchester City in the Premier League.

Walker will know Villa well due to spending time on loan at the club from Tottenham in the 2010/11 season.

Walker is a very decorated player - he has won four Premier Leagues, one FA Cup, four League Cups, two Community Shields, as well as playing for Tottenham and Man City at continental level and acquiring seventy five England caps, helping his country to a World Cup semi final in 2018, European Championships final in 2021 and a World Cup quarter final in 2022.


It's no secret that Kyle Walker is an elite player, however he's only featured in nineteen games this season for Man City and has averaged around sixty eight minutes per appearance.

Walker has fell down the pecking order at Man City following Pep Guardiola's experimentation with a new system which doesn't really suit him. Apparently they would be open to selling him this summer, and Aston Villa have been mentioned as a potential new club for Walker.


Walker is an exceptional full back, however he is out of contract at the end of next season, therefore City may be willing to let him go at a cut price.

It will then come down to whether Kyle Walker wants the move. If Villa keep up their form and sneak into Europe then that would be a big pull factor, however it wouldn't come as any surprise if Walker set his ambitions higher. Almost thirty four, but still a good player to have at the top level.


Walker would definitely suit Emery's system. He has experience of playing as a centre back in a back three as he played the whole World Cup 2018 campaign in that position, therefore when Alex Moreno bombs down the left, Walker would be able to form a back three with Villa's two centre backs and would be able to thrive in Emery's system.



Aaron Wan Bissaka - Manchester United #29


From one Manchester club to another, Aaron Wan Bissaka is a twenty five year old English right back who plays for Manchester United.

Wan Bissaka made the move to Man United in 2019 from Crystal Palace for £50m, however it hasn't been the sweetest of spells for him at the club.


Defensively, Wan Bissaka is one of the best out there. He averages 2.23 tackles per ninety, 1.44 blocks per ninety, and ranks in the top 15% of full backs worldwide for interceptions and clearances. He hasn't been exceptional for United by any means, however he is definitely a good player and would definitely suit Emery's system.

United paid £50m for Wan Bissaka almost four years ago, and he hasn't lived up to that price tag by any means, and like Walker, he is out of contract at the end of the season, therefore could be available at a cut price if United look to sell.



Denzel Dumfries - Inter Milan #2


Denzel Dumfries is a twenty seven year old Dutch right back who plays for Inter Milan in Serie A.

Dumfries finds himself in a Champions League semi final with Inter Milan, however the dutchman has been linked with Unai Emery's Aston Villa.


It's no doubt that Dumfries is an exceptional player. He starts for Champions League semi finalists Inter Milan as well as the Netherlands national team. However, as proven in his heat map, he is a very attacking minded right back who gets up and down the right flank. Whilst this might suit certain teams, it doesn't suit Emery's system at Villa.

Denzel Dumfries' Heatmap

Of course, Emery can transition Dumfries into a more defensive minded player, just the same as hes transitioned McGinn from a box to box midfielder to a wide playmaker, and if he signed him, it would be a very good move. The likes of Chelsea and Manchester United were both linked in January, so it's no doubt that he's a fantastic player.



Kyle Walker Peters - Southampton #2


Kyle Walker Peters is a twenty five year old English right back who plays for Southampton.

KWP's side sit rock bottom of the Premier League, and relegation is definitely a possibility for them.


Walker Peters could leave Southampton if they face relegation as a number of Premier League clubs are bound to show interest, one of which being Aston Villa.

On paper it seems a good signing, young, home grown, lots of Premier League experience already, however the question has to be asked... is he much better than Matty Cash or Ashley Young? If Emery wanted him then most Villa fans would approve as the gaffer is untouchable at the moment, however it begs the question...


Looking at Southampton's average positions from their 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, we can see Walker Peters is further back than the left back and almost forming a back three with the two centre backs. This would suit Emery's system to a tee.

Definitely not the first choice, but wouldn't be a bad one...


So, four right backs Villa have been linked with, some more realistic than others, some more suitable to our system than others. However, if I personally had to choose a right back for us to go all out for this summer, it would be Takehiro Tomiyasu from Arsenal.

Tomiyasu has twenty one appearances for Arsenal in the Premier League this season, however he's only averaging thirty one minutes per game.

He was influential to Arsenal's plans last season prior to his injury, however Ben White's exceptional performances at right back have kept him out the squad.

The reason I, personally, am a huge fan of Tomiyasu is because of the defensive side to his game. He ranks in the top 12% of full backs for tackles and interceptions per ninety, and the top 6% for aerials won. He's also a very good passer of the ball.


He would suit Emery's system to a tee. Last season when he was playing regularly, he formed a back three with centre halves Gabriel and Ben White whilst Kieran Tierney bombed on down the left hand side.

If Villa were to get European football I believe this would be the perfect signing. He may want to stay at Arsenal to play in the Champions League, but he may also want regular game time, and he isn't getting that at the moment...


We will have to wait till the summer to see which right back Villa want to go in for, however, whoever it is, I'm sure Unai Emery knows best and will not disappoint when we dip in to the transfer window...


BY HARRY BATTERS - @HarryBatters





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