Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Steven Gerrard proved right, with Aston Villa to axe stalwart in favour of major new signing at Unai Emery’s behest

Aston Villa trio Tyrone Mings, Ollie Watkins and John McGinn

Unai Emery has reached the same controversial conclusion as Steven Gerrard, with a report claiming a major addition is in the works to replace a club stalwart who’s no longer up to scratch.

Emery, 50, will officially take charge of Aston Villa on November 1. Finalising a work permit is the last hurdle that must be cleared, meaning interim manager, Aaron Danks, will lead the team for a second time against Newcastle on Saturday.

Emery succeeded Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard who failed to get a tune out of his forwards.

Villa were the joint-lowest scorers in the league at the time of his dismissal. Their first match in the post-Gerrard era saw four goals plundered against Brentford. Clearly, something was amiss under the former boss.

Aston Villa have already been linked with multiple high profile names ahead of the winter window. It’s anticipated Emery will be given funds to re-shape his squad at the earliest opportunity.

Now, a report from Football Insider claims one position Emery has determined needs an overhaul is left centre-back.

Tyrone Mings currently occupies that berth, though for a brief time earlier in the season, the position was not his.

Gerrard was of the belief Mings was not the long-term answer in the centre of his defence. As such, he stripped the England international of the club captaincy and played the pairing of Diego Carlos and Ezri Konsa on opening day.

However, Carlos ruptured his Achilles less than two matches into his Villa tenure. That prompted a U-turn from Gerrard, though out of necessity rather than a change of heart.

Emery decision proves Gerrard was right?

The report claims Gerrard would gladly have sold Mings last summer if a viable suitor could’ve been found. Furthermore, they claim new boss Unai Emery has reached a similar conclusion.

It’s stated Villa are ‘in the market’ for a new left-sided centre-half. What’s more, Villa are reportedly ‘planning for a future without Mings as a key member of their starting XI’.

That would suggest Mings may be retained as a depth piece in the squad, though his days as a starter look numbered.

Emery and club chiefs have already discussed what needs to change, and it’s claimed signing a top class left-sided centre-back is high on the list.

While Gerrard didn’t get much right during his time at Villa Park, it seems the new boss is in agreement with his assessment of Mings.

Who could Aston Villa sign?

While not named in the report, an obvious name who would represent a big upgrade is Pau Torres.

The Spain international, 25, is well known to Emery given he plays for Villarreal.

The left-footer is a classy and composed operator and has drawn links with Arsenal and Manchester United as recently as last summer.

However, United ultimately signed Lisandro Martinez instead. Arsenal, meanwhile, may no longer be in the market given William Saliba has grabbed his long-awaited chance with both hands. Their own left-footer, Gabriel Magalhaes, recently signed a new contract too.

Figures of between £40m-£50m have been cited when Torres’ name has been discussed. He’d represent a sizeable upgrade on Mings and has already shown he’s capable of handling Premier League opposition.

He played every minute of Villarreal’s two-legged semi-final against Arsenal during the 2020-21 Europa League campaign.

Villarreal won the tie after protecting their home advantage and keeping a clean sheet at the Emirates. They then defeated Man Utd on penalties in the final.

If Emery can work his magic and call in a few favours, Mings may have a Torres-shaped problem looming on the horizon

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