One man who has been linked with a switch to Villa Park in recent weeks is Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie.
The USA international is struggling for game time in Turin and has been touted as an option for a number of Premier League clubs, including Villa, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United.
However, his first showing in Qatar does little to suggest that he would be an upgrade on Unai Emery’s current options in midfield, as he endured a very difficult time against Wales on Monday evening in the USA’s opening fixture in Qatar.
As per SofaScore, the 24-year-old would earn a shocking 6.4/10 rating for his performance, with only Josh Sargent and Daniel James ranked lower (both 6.3) of all the players to start the game.
During his time on the pitch, the former Schalke man would complete just 23/33 of his passes, registering a less-than-impressive 70% pass success rate. Indeed, none of Villa’s midfield options have registered a success rate that poor in the Premier League this season, with John McGinn the closest with a 79.6% average.
McKennie offered absolutely nothing going forward and very little defensively, as he failed to contribute a single shot, key pass, dribble or tackle against Rob Page’s side on Monday evening.
He also won just 25% of his duels and committed four fouls, including an early yellow card for a rash tackle, in what was a hugely disappointing display from one of the USA’s most experienced and recognisable players.
In fact, if the Juventus wantaway hadn’t been substituted after 66 minutes through injury, it would have been easy to see him picking up another yellow, as he looked well off the pace during his time on the pitch.
For context, Boubacar Kamara has committed the most fouls on average in Villa’s side this season, with just 1.9 per game, which emphasises just how poor McKennie was against the Welsh, and shows that he was perhaps lucky not to be sent off.
While he has been described as “incredibly underrated” by Football talent scout Jacek Kulig in the past, his World Cup showing suggests that Emery should steer well clear of McKennie in January. He already has better options at his disposal.