Friday, July 28, 2023

Aston Villa Window Success Now Includes Diaby

Aston Villa landed another summer signing this week as Moussa Diaby joins Unai Emery’s project at Villa Park. The former Bayer Leverkusen player and French international wasted no time in introducing himself, scoring in the club’s preseason friendly in Orlando Wednesday night. The winger is known for his direct style of play, advancing and attacking off the dribble. Diaby ranked among the top 8% of wingers in Europe’s top five leagues in take-ons leading to a goal last season and fits well with Emery’s attacking scheme. The left footed player is also quite versatile and, while principally a left winger, can play across a multitude of attacking positions, including as a second striker alongside main trigger man Ollie Watkins.

Diaby joins Youri Tielemans and Pau Torres as Emery’s premier additions in this transfer window. The 24-year-old rejoins former Bayer Leverkusen teammate Leon Bailey and could well bump the Jamaican from the starting line-up. There should be minutes for all, however, as Villa compete in the Europa Conference League this season in addition to the Premier League and domestic cups. Emery led Aston Villa to a seventh-place league finish after the club was teetering on the brink of relegation under former Manager Steven Gerrard last season. Diaby’s previous experience in European competition adds to his attraction for Emery. The winger has scored 12 times and assisted on 8 goals in 28 Europa League appearances. Emery is also familiar with Diaby’s talents from when the Spanish manger was in charge at PSG while Diaby was proving himself as an academy player in Paris. Diaby will need to adapt to the Premier League and will be tasked to improve his off the ball performance in a much more competitive league.

Despite the goals by Diaby and 21-year-old squad hopeful Jaden Philogene, it was Youri Tielemans who received the Man of the Match in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Fulham. The Belgian international controlled the midfield with his clever passing skills and positional awareness. The former Leicester player departed the Foxes on a free transfer this window following the Foxes relegation from the Premier League. The Villa acquisition could be one of the less publicized bargains of the summer window. At 26 years old, Tielemans is a seasoned Premier League player who spent four years with the Foxes and scored the winner in their 2021 FA Cup win over Chelsea. Emery reached out personally to Tielemans to seal Villa as his next port of call.

The manager has enormous influence in Villa’s transfer dealings and was reunited in June with Monchi, his former Sporting Director at Sevilla, who now assumes that role at Aston Villa. Just weeks after that appointment, Villa secured the signature of one of Emery’s former Villareal players. Defender Pau Torres played for Emery from 2020 until the manager’s departure for Birmingham. During that time Torres became one of the most sought-after center backs in Europe. The 26-year-old Spanish international has represented his country at both Euro 2020 and 2022 World Cup. Torres and Emery led Villareal to the Europa League championship in 2021. Villa now has a deep central defender core in Torres, Tyrone Mings, Ezri  Konsa and Diego Carlos. Balancing the talents and personalities in front of World Cup winning goalkeeper Emi Martinez will be a high-class problem for Emery as he navigates through Villa’s extended fixture list this upcoming season.

Things continue to look up at Aston Villa as Emery redeemed his Premier League reputation after a disappointing stay at Arsenal earlier in his career. Emery now takes Aston Villa to Europe where the manager has lifted four previous trophies.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: