Ashley Preece has dropped a major transfer update on Aston Villa target Oriol Romeu.
Reports in recent days have suggested that the Spaniard has emerged as a potential option for Dean Smith’s side this summer, and the Birmingham Mail‘s Preece has delivered an insight into where things stand right now.
He said: “Yes, to a central defender, one who will be happy to play second-fiddle to Konsa. I’ve seen that Romeu report, he’s one that Smith likes. Personally, I think he’s exactly what Villa need. No talks re him, though, sadly.”
The 1.83m (6 foot) ace is a dominant holding midfielder who would represent a major upgrade on Marvelous Nakamba in that anchorman role – in fact, as per Whoscored, the 29-year-old’s average of 3.3 tackles per game in the Premier League last season ranked him joint-third in the entire top flight.
The Spaniard also averaged 1.4 interceptions per game, numbers which are far better than any of Smith’s current options at Villa Park – Nakamba being the closest Villa player to the Saints man, managing just 1.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per match.
When asked about Romeu’s performance against West Brom in a 2-0 win earlier last season, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “When you see him as a professional, how he reacts when he is not first-choice, he’s one of the most professional guys I’ve ever seen.
“Sometimes he is under the radar because he makes the work nobody wants to do – closing the gaps, closing the space, winning duels, being everywhere and when he is in the moment when he can score, it is unbelievable for him.”
Given his ability to win the ball back so well, and the fact that he’s Premier League proven in his time with both Chelsea and Southampton, Romeu is someone who Villa badly need to reinforce the holding midfield position this summer.