The Athletic’s Gregg Evans has revealed that Aston Villa could revisit a move for a Southampton midfielder in the January transfer window…
Reports over the course of the summer had suggested that the Midlands club were keen on signing James Ward-Prowse from St Mary’s, but it appears Gerrard is now also interested in landing Romeu.
During a Q&A for The Athletic, Evans said: “As for the budget… rather than setting an exact figure, Villa will remain flexible to act if either a bargain deal becomes available, or there is a need to top up a certain position, such as in midfield. Sporting director Johan Lange will present midfield options to manager Steven Gerrard, and Southampton’s Oriol Romeu may be looked at after he was tracked over the summer.”
Ever since Idrissa Gueye left the club for fellow Premier League side Everton, Villa have searched far and wide for someone to replace the gaping hole that the Senegal international left in the middle of the park.
Marvelous Nakamba has been the closest to doing so, but in Romeu, Gerrard could genuinely find a real monstrous defensive presence.
The 6 foot machine would represent a real upgrade on Nakamba in that holding midfield role – in fact, as per Whoscored, the Saints man’s impressive average of 3.3 tackles per game in the Premier League last season ranked him joint-third in the entire division.
Romeu also averaged 1.4 interceptions per game, numbers which are far better than any of Gerrard’s current options at Villa Park – Nakamba being the closest Villa player to the Spaniard, managing just 1.7 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per match.
And, when asked about Romeu’s performance against West Brom in a 2-0 victory last season, Southampton boss 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.”
The £6m-rated star is exactly what Villa need in that engine room, and could finally be the man to replace Gueye.