Tactical switch sees Villa rival Everton for target with Man Utd ramifications

Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar 2021

A tactical tweak deployed by Dean Smith has prompted Aston Villa to rival Everton for a goalscoring defender in a move that holds Manchester United ramifications, per a report.

In recent matches, Smith has opted for a 3-5-2 formation in order to deploy Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings in a two-man frontline. That always appeared to be in Smith’s thinking upon signing Ings after the Villa boss previously revealed he does not view Watkins as a wide player any more.

The tactical tweak has made centre-back depth all the more important. Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause have started at centre-back in each of the previous two league matches. Axel Tuanzebe got the nod over Hause in the two matches prior.

However, Tuanzebe is only on loan from Manchester United. If Smith wishes to persist with the three-man backline, an addition may need to be made to ensure they are not caught short.

A recent report from the Birmingham Mail revealed Tuanzebe is open to leaving Old Trafford for good. The 23-year-old is said to have ‘found his smile’ at Villa Park, and would be open to a permanent move.

But the latest from Football Insider suggests Tuanzebe will return to the Red Devils. Instead, a giant Stoke defender on Everton’s radar is now in focus.

They state Villa have ‘joined the chase to sign 6ft 6in colossus, Harry Souttar. The 22-year-old is making a name for himself in the Championship. His international exploits with Australia have also caught the eye.

Souttar has bagged six goals in just five matches for the Socceroos, though admittedly against weak opposition.

Australia defender Harry Souttar winning a header against Egypt 2021

Nonetheless, his ‘commanding’ displays bode well for a step-up to the Premier League, and Villa are seemingly keen.

The article cites a source connected to Villa that claims Souttar is a ‘target’ for their recruitment department ‘going into the new year’. That would suggest a January swoop is not out of the question.

And if Souttar were to be signed, the chances of Tuanzebe returning to Man Utd once his loan concludes would increase.

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Youngster’s rise pushes Villa striker out

Meanwhile, an Aston Villa striker could leave on loan in January with a view to a permanent exit after the emergence of a young forward scoring goals for fun, per a report.

Bubbling under the surface behind Danng Ings and Ollie Watkins up front is 19-year-old Cameron Archer.The Villa academy graduate has bagged seven goals in seven matches across all competitions and age groups this year.

Now, per Birmingham Live, Archer’s rise is a factor behind Villa once again being open to severing ties with Keinan Davis.

They report the 22-year-old had been on course for a loan exit in the summer. Stoke City’s Michael O’Neill previously hinted at the club’s interest.

But an untimely knee injury scuppered the move, ensuring Davis remained at Villa park for the time being.

However, the article claims a January loan exit could now be pursued ahead of a ‘permanent switch away’. Given their previous interest, Stoke would appear to be the frontrunners at this stage.

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