The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece has dropped a major update on Frederic Guilbert’s future at Aston Villa this summer.
After falling behind Matty Cash in the pecking order following the right-back’s arrival from Championship side Nottingham Forest last summer, Guilbert eventually ended up joining Ligue 1 outfit Strasbourg on loan until the end of the season.
Now, Preece has claimed that while the Frenchman will return to Villa Park, and is “expected to stay”, he could be someone who actually ends up leaving if a team can offer him genuine first-team football.
He said: “The full-back situation is an intriguing one knowing Matt Targett doesn’t have competition at left-back while, over on the opposite flank, Frederic Guilbert will return to Villa to rival Cash. Guilbert, although expected to stay, could viably move on should an interested club guarantee him first-team football after his impressive four-month stint on-loan at Strasbourg.”
With just two Villa appearances to his name last season, it’s fair to say Guilbert has been a bit of a disaster at Villa Park over these past 12 to 18 months, so much so that he made the loan move to Strasbourg.
There, the 26-year-old became a regular, and put in some decent performances, scoring once and providing four assists in 13 Ligue 1 games.
But while Guilbert showed some impressive signs of a return to form, it appears Dean Smith has already made his mind up about the Frenchman’s quality.
In fact, The Athletic journalist Gregg Evans, even said just last year: “I expect the thinking behind trying to move on Guilbert is that, (Ahmed) Elmohamady can cover any injuries at full-back, and also can’t really be moved on for any money, so Villa could get something back on Guilbert at least. I agree, there’s potential, but it seems like Smith has seen enough and favours others.”
Earning around £40k-a-week at Villa, Guilbert is earning a decent sum of money for someone who is just going to play back-up to Cash, and the Midlands club would surely be better off getting rid of his wages and bringing in a much younger right-back to compete – or, simply promote someone like Kaine Kesler from the academy ranks.
Guilbert simply picked up a pay-cheque for either sitting on the bench or not even being named in the match-day squad for the first-half of the season that he spent with Villa, and NSWE simply can’t afford to let that happen again.
It might seem harsh to sell a player without taking another look at him on loan, but that’s exactly what the club should do.
Villa should make the ruthless call and let him go.