The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece has dropped an Aston Villa claim on deadline day as Frederic Guilbert closes in on a loan move away from the club.
Journalist Pete O’Rourke revealed on Tuesday lunchtime that the Frenchman has agreed a deal to join Ligue 1 side Strasbourg on loan for the season.
Writing on Twitter, Preece said: “Guilbert’s Villa deal runs until 2023 so it’ll be interesting to see if there’s an option to buy involved. Dean Smith happy to use Young, Tuanzebe and, if needed, Konsa as options at right-back. Guilbert clearly not fancied at #avfc. A good guy who did well season before last.”
The 26-year-old was also on loan at Strasbourg last term before returning to pre-season at Villa Park and working his way back into Dean Smith’s squad, even starting in the Carabao Cup second round clash against Barrow earlier this month.
Writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail that night, Preece gave him an eight, saying: “Always keen to provide an outlet down the right, Guilbert didn’t always get it right – but when he did, the goods followed. One low cross in the first half was too close to the keeper, but his stood up ball for El Ghazi’s second goal was on the money. Took his goal superbly.”
Guilbert showed the kind of attacking instincts and energy which arguably makes him an ideal right-back cover for first-choice Matty Cash, with Ashley Young now in the twilight years of his career and Axel Tuanzebe more of a central defender.
Guilbert enjoyed a fine time at Strasbourg as well, scoring once and providing another four assists in just 13 games for the club, averaging a whopping 2.8 tackles and 2.5 interceptions per game in Ligue 1 – to put that into context, no Villa player could match either of those numbers in the Premier League last term.
While Preece says that Smith is happy to use the likes of Young, Tuanzebe and even Ezri Konsa in the role, an injury to Cash would leave Villa desperately short of natural cover for that right-back slot.
It’s exactly why Villa fans will likely be very worried with this latest update on Guilbert, who it seems is heading back to Strasbourg on loan.