Aston Villa manager Dean Smith could finally replace Idrissa Gueye by signing Southampton powerhouse Oriol Romeu.
According to The Telegraph, Villa have made the holding midfield position a priority this summer, with Romeu figuring prominently on their target list.
However, the report added that the Saints are unwilling to sanction a sale, so a deal may be difficult for Smith’s side to execute.
As per WhoScored, the Spaniard averaged 3.3 tackles per game in the Premier League last season, which actually ranked him joint-third in the entire division, with only Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi and Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell above him in the list.
Romeu also averaged an impressive 1.4 interceptions per game and an 82.6% pass accuracy, so clearly he has the ability to read the game and step in on the front foot when required – something which really made Gueye stand out in his time in the English top flight (including one season at Villa in 2015/16) and now at PSG.
Last season in Ligue 1, the Senegal midfielder managed 2.3 tackles and 0.7 interceptions per match, while also having a 92.6% pass accuracy.
Kurt Zouma, his former teammate at Everton, waxed lyrical about Gueye’s 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.”
In the £65,000-a-week Romeu, they could find someone who also covers the ground very well and possesses both the defensive instincts and secure passing which could benefit Villa in the middle of the park.
If Villa are looking for someone to finally replace the all-action displays provided by Gueye in his time at Villa Park, then Romeu could be the man to do so.