“Over-the-hill”, “Exactly what Villa need” – AVFC chasing midfield enforcer – verdict

“Over-the-hill”, “Exactly what Villa need” – AVFC chasing midfield enforcer – verdict

Aston Villa are hoping to sign Steven Nzonzi from Roma for the rest of the season, as has been reported by The Mirror, with the Frenchman currently out on loan at Galatasaray.

The 31-year-old has been suspended by the Turkish giants after a training ground row, and is open to making a return to the Premier League.

Villa’s interest in him follows an acceptance that they need more Premier League experience within their squad, having already signed Danny Drinkwater and Pepe Reina on loan this window.

With this in mind, FFC writers have discussed whether a move for Nzonzi would be wise for Villa.

Domagoj Kostanjsak

“For me, Nzonzi still has a lot to offer to any club he plays for. His towering stature and a plethora of experience, including the World Cup victory in 2018, would definitely be a good boost for Aston Villa as they seek reinforcements in order to compete with the rest of the Premier League’s top brass.

“Nzonzi may be approaching the twilight of his career but it could be exactly what Villa need as well.

“Even though Marvelous Nakamba has been a steady presence in Villa’s squad, Nzonzi could be that reliable backup Dean Smith calls upon when the going gets tough. 1.6 tackles, 1.6 clearances and 0.6 interceptions in the Champions League also suggest he’s still a big-game player and that could be a huge advantage that he has over the rest of the Villa team.”

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Kealan Hughes

“Aston Villa recently signed Danny Drinkwater and that means they should move on to bringing in a striker, as that has to be the priority since Jonathan Kodjia is the only fit forward in the senior squad.

“Added to that, players like Marvelous Nakamba and Douglas Luiz joined to add to a squad which already contained Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane. Thus, Nzonzi doesn’t offer much they can’t already provide.

“He may have Premier League and Champions League experience but 0.9 tackles and 0.6 key passes per game in the Turkish league suggests he may not be able to meet the standard required in the top-flight, and he isn’t exactly an inspiring signing to lead the Villans in their relegation fight.

“The only positive is that he provides defensive cover in midfield that would allow Dean Smith to keep Jack Grealish at left-wing, as the 24-year-old has scored every one of his six Premier League goals this season from that position.”

Charles Jones

“I’ve never understood why people suddenly began to rate Steven N’Zonzi after he left England in the first place.

“Aston Villa are trying to avoid the drop, so why do they want to bring in an over-the-hill midfielder who has already been relegated with Blackburn back in 2012.

“His track record in England speaks for itself. He’s already tasted going down, and he also failed to really catch the eye at Stoke. He never averaged over two tackles per game whilst at the Potters despite playing in an incredibly defensive side for most of his time there. He did well in Spain with Sevilla, and there was only one campaign in Europe where he dipped below an average match rating of 7, via WhoScored.

“But you can’t take those performances as a real indication of what he’d do in the Premier League. This division is a different animal as many Villa players have already learned this season.”

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Danny Lewis

“Signing a striker has to be the priority for Aston Villa, as they played with no recognised frontmen against Manchester City.

“However, if there are funds available, they should also go in for Nzonzi, as Nakamba and Luiz have shown themselves to be untrustworthy in recent times.

“This stance follows on from the Brazilian losing the ball against Leicester City, starting the move which led to Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal, and the Zimbabwean putting an opportunity on a plate for Danny Ings during the loss against Southampton.

“Nzonzi has recorded 0.9 per game in tackles, interceptions and blocks this season, which is steady while not eye-catching, but his presence in the middle of the park could prove to be of benefit.”

Meanwhile, Jack Grealish’s comment after the Man City loss hinted at a fragile mindset in the changing room.

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