Aston Villa boss Dean Smith could build a formidable midfield partnership by signing Southampton star Oriol Romeu this summer.
While much of the talk in recent weeks has been Villa’s interest in James Ward-Prowse, Smith also now seems to have his eye on the England international’s midfield partner, Romeu.
The Telegraph claim that the Spaniard is someone who the Midlands club are keen on, as they look to strengthen their defensive midfield options.
In John McGinn, Villa have got a superb box-to-box midfielder who can chip in with big goals, as well as play slightly further forward as he has done for Scotland at the EUROs – last season saw him chip in with an impressive nine goal contributions in the Premier League alone.
But to get the best out of him, Smith could really do with a true ball-winner, and while Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz may try and play that role, Romeu fits that role perfectly.
As per Whoscored, the 29-year-old’s average of 3.3 tackles per game in the Premier League last season was good enough to rank him third in the entire division, with only Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi and Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell making more.
The Spaniard also averaged 1.4 interceptions per game too, numbers which are far better than any of Smith’s current options at Villa Park – in fact, Nakamba is the closest Villa player to the Saints man, managing just 1.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per match.
His Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “I have never seen a professional like him before in my entire managing career. He’s one of the most professional guys I’ve ever seen.
“When you see him as a professional, how he reacts when he’s not first choice, it’s unbelievable. He’s always the first on the pitch, always hard working. I think for this, they love him here.”
Having Romeu to protect the back-four and stop opposition attacks, could open the game up a lot more for McGinn to break forward and have the licence to join up in attack – his goals against Arsenal in successive seasons in the Premier League is a testament to his ability to time his runs into the box.
Romeu and McGinn could form a superb midfield duo that has everything covered both defensively and offensively.