There’s surely no doubting that these past couple of months have been among the greatest in Aston Villa’s recent Premier League history.
Dean Smith’s side survived relegation back to the Championship on the final day last season, and then embarked on an exciting spending spree that has seen them start the new campaign like a house on fire, with three wins from three, and sitting pretty in second.
The one new boy who has yet to really break into the starting eleven on a regular basis early on, is Bertrand Traore. The Burkina Faso international arrived from French giants Lyon, and has played just nine minutes of Premier League football thus far.
But when the 25-year-old does get fit and firing eventually, Smith will have a big call to make in terms of who Traore comes into his starting line-up for.
And that’s where things could spell trouble for Trezeguet. The Egyptian wing wizard has started all three of Villa’s opening Premier League games, and has arguably been the least influential of the side’s attack, failing to score at all and picking up one assist.
Despite being able to play on the left-hand side, the 44-cap international has mainly featured off the right this season – the position Traore has seemed to be most comfortable in during his career.
Competition for places is always a good thing for keeping players on their toes and ensuring they don’t take their foot off the gas, but inevitably, there will be casualties.
Trezeguet’s place in Villa folklore is already secured after bagging that crucial winner against Arsenal in the final weeks of last season, but Traore’s big-money arrival surely sees his place most under threat, given that Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins are highly unlikely to be shifted out.
Smith has never shied away from praising Trezeguet for his performances, saying this after his match-winning display against Crystal Palace: “His attitude is spot on, he worked his socks off and he deserved his goals. Trez has earned his place for his performances and is starting to look a player accustomed to play in the Premier League.”
And speaking last summer, Smith revealed the process behind actually signing the winger: “Trezeguet, for example, myself and Suso went out to Egypt to watch him in the AFCON and we spoke to him. He’s got a real hunger and desire to prove to everyone that he’s a Premier League player. He’s fitted in very well so far, he knows Elmo already so the integration has been quite easy.”
What’s clear is that it will be an interesting battle between Traore and Trezeguet for that starting spot on the right-hand side, but if the former can get to full fitness quickly, then the Egyptian may be sitting on the substitutes bench sooner rather than later.
In other news, Villa should be ruthless with this Dean Smith favourite.