With over 100 games for the club now, Neil Taylor has proven himself to be a shrewd signing for Aston Villa over these past few years.
The Wales international joined from Swansea back in January 2017, in a deal that saw Jordan Ayew head in the opposite direction. Taylor played a major part in Villa earning promotion to the Premier League for last season, including playing every single minute during the Championship play-offs.
But the 31-year-old fell out of favour when Dean Smith’s side reached the top-flight, making just 14 appearances in the league, with Matt Targett being Villa’s first-choice at left-back.
If Smith sees the full-back as a vital part of his squad due to his leadership or presence in the dressing room, then perhaps the club should consider giving him a shorter-term contract.
But if Villa are looking at it from a purely footballing perspective, and what he can offer on the pitch, then sadly, Taylor’s decline should make it a relatively simple choice to make.
As per Whoscored, when you compare his stats from last season and the one before, all of his numbers in the key categories for a full-back have gone down considerably – some sharper than others.
His tackles per game have gone down from 1.7 to 1.1, he’s been dribbled past twice as much (0.3 to 0.6), his key passes have dropped from 0.6 to 0.4, and his attempted cross have gone from 0.3 to 0.1.
It’s a far cry from the time Robbie Savage once lauded him as “one of the best in the Premier League” when he was at Swansea, and if Villa are to truly mean business, then they need to move on from under-performing players.