After waxing lyrical about Matty Cash’s debut season with Aston Villa, Paul Robinson believes Dean Smith’s side pulled off an excellent deal on the “outstanding” man, who Leeds were also circling during the summer, as per Football Insider.
The Whites were eyeing up a swoop for the former Nottingham Forest ace last season. The right-back bagged himself three goals and five assists in 42 Championship games. He also contributed 14 clean sheets and showcased his versatility by operating on the wing on several occasions, via Transfermarkt.
A player of Cash’s calibre would’ve been a good fit for Marcelo Bielsa and his Championship-winning Whites. However, had Andrea Radrizzani made a move for the £65,000 per week defender, it would have likely posed a huge threat to Luke Ayling’s position within the club.
The Bielsa’s favourite played a huge part in his side’s promotion last season, both defensively and in attack. The 29-year-old has also been a key player in Leeds’ returning Premier League campaign, starting every top-flight match so far and contributing to three clean sheets.
But had Leeds brought in a younger player in his position, it’s hard to predict whether he would be seeing much game time at all this season. According to WhoScored, Cash averaged more clearances (3) and tackles (2.6) per league game, than Ayling with an average of 1.8 for both facets.
The new Villa recruit also had better discipline, picking up seven yellow cards to Ayling’s nine. Even this season, Cash has a better passing percentage so far (78.4%) and more interceptions (2.9) compared to the Leeds dynamo’s 77.5% and 0.3 respectively.
Whilst Ayling is very much part of the furniture at Elland Road, there’s no knowing whether the arrival of Cash would have elbowed him out of the spotlight and away from Bielsa’s attention.
Either way, he can count his lucky stars that Cash did not arrive in Yorkshire this summer.