Aston Villa can afford to part ways with left-back Matt Targett, currently on loan at Premier League rivals Newcastle United, with the Englishman looking to leave the West Midlands outfit permanently this summer
The 26-year-old recently spoke publicly of his desire to make his stay in the North East permanent, saying: “I’m sure and hope they can sort something out for me.
“For sure [decision time] is coming closer so, at the moment, I am really enjoying my time here and loving playing in front of the Geordie fans here.”
Toon boss Eddie Howe was made aware of those comments after Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City and reacted by stating: “If that’s what he said then it’s a lovely thing to hear from our perspective that he’s happy at the club and enjoying everything Newcastle has to offer.
“I’d be surprised if there was any other feeling from him because he’s looked so happy and settled in well.
“There are still games to play this season and opinions to be fully formed but I think he’s done very well. He’s fitted into the team and the group very well. He’s been very consistent with his performances.”
The Englishman made the move to Tyneside in January in an attempt to guarantee playing time after Villa’s £25m purchase of Lucas Digne from Everton.
Now, with the Frenchman undoubtedly Steven Gerrard’s first choice, it seems as though Targett will have to leave the West Midlands club permanently for regular game time in the top-flight.
Despite a tricky start to life in claret and blue for Digne with numerous injury issues, the 28-year-old will start next season as Villa’s favoured left-back.
As a result, Targett has every right to seek a new challenge, particularly after an impressive three months as a Newcastle player.
Whether or not the North-East outfit’s expected heavy investment for high-profile talent this summer will shut the Englishman out of a permanent move is yet to be seen. However, from a Villa perspective, they can let Targett go with few consequences.
Granted, the Villans will have to seek a new backup left-back with 36-year-old Ashley Young’s contract set to expire this summer but this shouldn’t prove to be too tall a task.
The 26-year-old has proven to be a solid purchase for two-and-a-half seasons of service after his move from Southampton in 2019.
However, this campaign had since mixed displays from the left-back in claret and blue, with his opening day performance in the 3-2 defeat at Watford particularly alarming.
The Athletic’s Gregg Evans tweeted on the day: “Feeling a little bit for Matt Targett here. 14 mins in and Sarr is causing him all sorts of problems. Hard to watch.”
Even with injury issues, Digne has performed slightly better for Villa than the 26-year-old had prior to his move to St.James’ Park, according to SofaScore, with Targett’s average rating standing at 6.84 whilst Digne’s has been 6.9.
With Villa, like Newcastle, looking to make the next step up, the £59k-per-week Englishman may have to seek a completely different alternative when it comes to a permanent move. However, it won’t be a loss for Aston Villa.