Aston Villa made a huge mistake in the summer transfer window by not tying up a deal for Reading’s John Swift.
Reports from The Birmingham Live back in late August suggested that Dean Smith’s side were very much interested in signing Swift, and that they were ready to compete with fellow Premier League side, Sheffield United, for his signature.
The report added that Villa were set to offer around £6-8m, more than what the Blades had initially proposed to Reading. In the end, the midfielder stayed put, and after starting the first two games of the Championship campaign, has missed the last few weeks of the new season through injury.
Whilst Villa have started off the new campaign superbly with four wins from four, and their new signings settling in well, you can’t help but feel Swift could have added a different dimension to the squad.
The former England U21 international is comfortable playing as a central midfielder or further forward, and has proven over the years that he has a real knack for getting himself into the box and finding the back of the net – last season saw him bag six goals and provide ten assists in 41 Championship games.
If you compare that to Villa’s central options from last season, then it’s really night and day. Only Conor Hourihane scored more with seven, whilst he and the rest of his midfield teammates could only manage half the amount of assists.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has previously gone on record to hail Swift, saying he’s part of a Reading attacking force that has “got the ability to do something out of nothing”.
In fact, England boss Gareth Southgate once tipped him for a “great future” following his performances at U21 level, and whilst he may not have kicked on into becoming a household star, he’s certainly someone who Villa should have brought to the club.
Earning a reported £25k-a-week at Reading, Swift could have been a midfield dynamo for Smith.