Ashley Preece has dropped a major transfer update on Aston Villa’s plans to potentially recruit a new centre-back in the summer window.
Dean Smith’s side saw the surprise departure of Bjorn Engels in recent days, with the Belgian defender making the permanent move to Royal Antwerp.
Preece has indicated that Smith will now look to dip into the transfer market to bring in some cover for Engels, with a replacement for the 26-year-old possibly made clearer “next week”.
He said: “Engels was a bit of a flash sale; happened so quickly last Friday. Engels knew he wouldn’t feature and jumped at chance to return to Belgium. Smith wasn’t keen on that happening but he’ll look to replenish that gap now. Villa would be an injury or two away from a disaster at the back. They’ll need one more, I think.
“It’s quiet on the CB front because the Engels transfer happened so quickly. I’ve said this; Smith didn’t envisage Engels leaving. It’s happened and targets are being checked out now. We should have a good idea of an Engels replacement next week. Villa didn’t want to spend money in that position but it’s looking likely. U23 Dom Revan just had knee op unfortunately.”
As everybody would have seen with Liverpool last season, all it takes is for a couple of injuries to key members of a defence for things to really expose the lack of strength in depth in a first team squad.
Jurgen Klopp’s side saw both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez go down with lengthy injuries, and the Reds were ultimately forced to go into the January transfer market to bring in some cover while holding midfielder Fabinho dropped into the defence as well.
It would be an absolute nightmare for Villa if Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa suffered something similar and robbed Smith of his stalwart centre-back partnership – Kortney Hause is now the only other senior player in that role at Villa Park.
It’s exactly why Preece’s update that the club will now look to bring in some much-needed defensive cover after the departure of Engels will surely have Villa fans buzzing.