This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Aston Villa are showing an interest in signing Chelsea winger Pedro during the January transfer window, according to The Telegraph.
The Spain international’s start against West Ham was his first in the Premier League since September and just his fourth of the campaign.
This is an indication of how far down the pecking order he the 32-year-old has found himself at Chelsea, though it now seems like Villa are offering him a route to more regular football.
While it will be a boost to have someone who has won a World Cup within the squad, this could see Dean Smith reverse what has been one of his biggest calls this season: moving Jack Grealish to left-wing.
Villa’s talisman has now played eight games out wide, getting four goals and two assists in that time, having managed just two assists in his previous six league matches.
This comes despite the 24-year-old having previously admitted that he prefers playing in a more central role, as reported by FourFourTwo:
“I don’t think the manager will like me saying this, but I prefer playing as a number eight, but I’ll play wherever the manager wants.”
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Though Smith did explain why the change has been made: “I just feel at the moment, for the balance of the team, it is a really good position for him. That’s the thing a mature Jack knows now, that he is doing a job for the team by being there.
“I feel he gives the opposition problems when he gets on the ball and runs at them, and as we saw against Newcastle, he won two free-kicks that led to two goals.”
Even when Grealish’s ability to thrive out on the left is considered, it is difficult to see Smith continuing to play the Englishman out there if Pedro comes.
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That is because Villa already have Anwar El Ghazi, Trezeguet and Jota competing for a place on the wing, meaning there could be a lot of disgruntled signings if Grealish stays out wide.
By moving Grealish back into the midfield, Smith would open up another place on the wings for the four wide men to battle over, whether that means Pedro would move from the right-wing to the left or one of the others would.
The flanks are already an area that has a lot of depth, so moving Grealish back is a way for Smith to utilise his options and maintain squad harmony.
Landing the Chelsea man could turn out to be a brilliant move for the club, but it could also force Smith to reverse one of his most game-changing decisions.
In other news, FFC has given Dean Smith some advice about how to handle Liverpool in the cup.