Aston Villa could solve their defensive crisis by seeking to raid a Premier League rival…
What’s the word?
According to journalist Jakub Krupa, Steven Gerrard could look to tempt Southampton into allowing Jan Bednarek to leave St Mary’s.
Krupa tweeted on Friday that Villa “are exploring a move” for the Southampton and Poland defender.
Following the projected nine-month absence of summer signing Diego Carlos after he ruptured his Achilles, Villa have been left scrambling for reinforcements before the transfer window slams shut. Bednarek could perfectly fill this vacancy for the time being and grow into a fan favourite at Villa Park.
Gerrard needs him
Now that Gerrard is without Carlos for the foreseeable future, and not favouring Tyrone Mings over a full season, Bednarek would represent a solid addition for Villa.
The England defender had his captaincy stripped and was dropped for their opening game of the season, but he since returned to action against Everton last weekend.
Would Jan Bednarek be a good signing for Aston Villa?
Already proven in the Premier League, Bednarek has impressed with his performances for the Saints and would slot right in alongside Ezri Konsa as perhaps the more dominant defender of the two, so there is no discernible downside to this potential deal.
The Poland international featured 31 times in the league last season for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, even chipping in with an impressive four goals.
In fact, he ranks in the top 3% for non-penalty goals per 90 among centre-backs in Europe’s top five leagues in 2021/22. Also ranking in the top 14% for aerial duels won, his arrival could help solve Villa’s set-piece issues, both offensively and defensively – they conceded 31% of their goals in 2021/22 from set pieces.
The “brilliant” 26-year-old (as hailed by Radio Solent’s Adam Blackmore) could help to remedy this shortcoming, while his general defensive work sees him ranked as one of the more consistent defenders in the league.
He ranks in the top 6% for interceptions, top 11% for blocks and top 12% for clearances, living up to his title of a defensive “monster”, as dubbed by journalist and podcaster Sam Tighe.
This actually marks an improvement on the injured Carlos, who only ranked in the 16th percentile for interceptions, 46th for blocks and 48th for clearances while at Sevilla last term.
The £20k-per-week Poland defender would bring is a steely determination which should help to eradicate silly mistakes from Villa’s game.
Bednarek may not be the perfect player for the fluid style that Gerrard prefers, but for what he could bring in terms of defensive solidity to cover for a long-term absentee, surely Villa need him sooner rather than later.