Aston Villa must forget about Webster and land Stephens instead

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to The Daily Mirror (July 2, page 49), Aston Villa are interested in Southampton’s Jack Stephens.

What’s the word?

Villa have completed five signings already in the summer transfer window, the latest of which was another Southampton defender in Matt Targett.

His arrival at Villa Park was confirmed earlier this week but it now appears as though they could be set to return for a further Saints man.

The print edition of The Daily Mirror (July 2, page 49) has suggested that the Villans could go back to the south coast in a bid to prise Stephens away from Southampton.

After Axel Tuanzebe’s and Tyrone Mings’ loan deals expired, bringing in bodies in defence is clearly required.

Forget about Webster

A long-running saga at Villa during this transfer window seems to be about Adam Webster. Towards the start of last month, The Sun suggested there was an initial interest in the player from the Villans before a £12m bid was then rejected, per Sky Sports News.

The latest in the situation is that Bristol City are reportedly demanding £30m for the defender, although there is a feeling that there could be a compromise made between the £20m-£25m mark.

But despite a potential lower fee for Webster, Villa should go all out for Stephens instead.

Although the former was a colossal presence in the Championship, winning 6.4 aerial duels per game, he has no Premier League experience and arguably that’s something that should prove key in Villa’s attempts to sign players over the coming month.

Stephens meanwhile, has plenty of experience in the top-flight, appearing on 63 occasions for Southampton in the Premier League over recent seasons. Last term he played 24 times, making an impressive 3.9 clearances a game.

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That’s already one major plus point he has over Webster, but he also fits the profile of who Villa want to build the team around.

Comments have been made about bringing in young players to develop and at the age of 25, Stephens still has his best years ahead of him.

Yes, Webster is a year younger, but the fact the £7.2m-rated centre back has that all-important nous at Premier League level means he should be the priority.

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