Aston Villa sporting director Johan Lange is eyeing a move for Fenerbahce centre back Attila Szalai as Steven Gerrard attempts to bring in some defensive reinforcements.
Gerrard made quite the statement by signing Sevilla defender Carlos in a £26m deal, and he was expected to be the backbone of a Villa defence which conceded 54 league goals last term.
However, the new season hasn’t started out how the manager would have planned, gaining only one win from three matches, which came against Everton.
Disaster struck during that match as Carlos had to be stretchered off injured, and it was later revealed he would miss the majority of the campaign with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
With Kortney Hause joining Watford on loan, this leaves Gerrard with Mings, Ezri Konsa and Calum Chambers as his only available centre-backs, making this position a priority before the transfer window shuts on Thursday.
Szalai could be an excellent signing, and his statistics suggest that he could form a solid duo with Mings in the Villa backline.
The Hungarian made 1.2 interceptions and 1.1 tackles and was only dribbled past 0.8 times per game for Fenerbahce last season, whereas Mings made 1.3 interceptions and 0.6 tackles and was dribbled past 0.2 times per match. These numbers would suggest that having the two playing together could go a long way to solving Villa’s defensive woes.
The England defender has perhaps been unfairly criticised in the past, with Graeme Souness stating in recent week that he “wouldn’t be joining the love-in for Tyrone Mings” following Gerrard’s decision to strip the defender of the Villa captaincy.
Adding someone of Szalai’s quality, with the Hungarian having been described as “exemplary” by Emre Belözoğlu, could only benefit the Englishman in the long run.
With less than a week to go until the transfer window closes, Gerrard will need to act fast to bring Szalai to the club, in what could be a move which might revive Villa’s season.