It’s fair to say that Idrissa Gueye has done well for himself since leaving Aston Villa in the summer of 2016.
The Senegal international arrived in the Premier League from French side Lille a year earlier, with a deal supposedly worth around £9m taking him to Villa Park.
He made 38 appearances in his one and only season at the club, before Villa’s relegation to the Championship effectively sealed his fate. Everton were the club to step in and take him off their hands, activating his release clause of £7m – Tony Xia even admitted on Twitter that “if he wants to go, we are powerless”.
Despite not having much to say in the decision of him leaving, Villa surely still feel a sense of regret that Gueye no longer plays for them, or at least didn’t give them more than just that one season.
His former teammate at Everton, Kurt Zouma, waxed lyrical about his abilities, saying: “We are very happy to have him because the work he is doing in midfield is just unbelievable. Every single game, he is doing the same thing – he is running everywhere, tackling everywhere, recovering balls, passing well. Everything comes with confidence. I think he is playing more forward now and we all know Gana has quality, with the ball and without the ball.”
It’s quite telling about just how good he is, that Gueye left Everton to join French giants PSG last summer for a fee in the region of £30m. And at the Parc des Princes, the Senegalese midfielder has established himself as a vital part of their success, winning four trophies in his first season at the club: Ligue 1, French Cup, French League Cup and the French Super Cup.
Villa sold him for a £2m loss, and have watched him develop into a starting calibre midfielder for last season’s Champions League finalists. It’s been quite the journey, and whilst the Midlands club may not have had much of a say in keeping him, it must surely be mixed feelings whenever they see Gueye in action: a tinge of regret that they couldn’t keep him, and a feeling of happiness at seeing him do so well.
And in other news, Aston Villa must wave goodbye to this ace next summer.