Aston Villa must keep hold of Frederic Guilbert in this summer transfer window despite Gabby Agbonlahor’s recent claim.
The 26-year-old spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 side Strasbourg and has since then reintegrated himself back into Dean Smith’s squad, even starting in the Carabao Cup second-round clash against Barrow on Tuesday night.
Despite that, former Villa man Agbonlahor has suggested that Guilbert could be one to depart in the final few days of the transfer window.
He said: “Dean Smith will want to keep a big squad of players. With Conor Hourihane, if you look at the midfield, there’s no reason why he cannot break into the team. He’s got the quality and done it in the Premier League before. Everyone knows how good Conor is.
“Maybe Guilbert might be one that goes out. You do have Tuanzebe as cover for Matty Cash and Ashley Young can play there. But apart from that, I don’t see any other players leaving.”
The £40k-a-week earning ace was a stand-out presence in Villa’s 6-0 thrashing of Barrow in mid-week, looking a constant threat down the right-hand side, and helping himself to a goal and an assist to boot too.
And, writing in his post-match player ratings for The Birmingham Mail, Ashley 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 that you wouldn’t necessarily get from someone like Tuanzebe who’s a centre-back by trade, or even a Young who at 36, is hardly going to be bombing up and down the flank.
The Frenchman seems like the most natural cover to Cash now that Ahmed Elmohamady is left, and were he to leave even on a loan deal this summer, it would leave Villa very short of quality options at right-back.
It could prove to be a costly mistake.