Despite possessing several options in midfield and in attack, manager Paul Lambert appears keen to improve them further by attempting to sign FC Twente’s Nacer Chadli, and Japanese international Hiroshi Kiyotake, and continue Aston Villa’s exceptionally busy summer so far, as they look to improve on last season’s 15th place finish.
Chadli, 25, has been linked with several clubs, many of them in the Premier League, after an impressive campaign for Twente, in which he scored 18 goals in all competitions. The
The 23-year-old Kiyotake, as reported by several national newspapers, has been the subject of an approach from Villa to his club, Nuremberg. The German side, however, have rejected it, saying that he is not for sale. Kiyotake was involved in the Confederations Cup this summer, and has impressed for Nuremberg during his first season with the club, helping them to a mid-table finish in the Bundesliga.
Villa are expected to face competition in their pursuits of both players, with Chadli in particular being reportedly targeted by many other clubs. They have already signed six players this summer without splashing the cash, but owner Randy Lerner has been less willing over the past couple of years to spend big money, and as a result, with Liverpool and Spurs monitoring Chadli, Villa could be outbid.
The Belgian’s main position is on the left wing, one already filled by Gabriel Agbonlahor and Charles N’Zogbia, both of whom have years of Premier League experience. Agbonlahor showed improved form towards the end of last season, scoring important goals in Villa’s survival bid, while N’Zogbia’s future is in some doubt having shown patchy form in his two years at the club.
While neither will give up their place easily, Chadli’s experience towards the top of a European league could work in his, and the club’s favour, as could new additions Antonio Luna, from Sevilla, and Jores Okore, a winner of the Danish title with Nordsjaelland in 2012.
A deal for Kiyotake looks unlikely, with Nuremberg’s high asking price, and their clear unwillingness to let him go. Lambert appears interested in adding a creative midfielder to his ranks, with the club currently lacking a playmaker. Stephen Ireland is out-of-favour, and Fabian Delph, Yacouba Sylla and Ashley Westwood act as anchormen rather than creative forces.
Elsewhere concerning Aston Villa, Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, has signed a new four year contract, after being voted the club’s player of the season for 2012-13. Despite conceding more goals than most other ‘keepers in the Premier League, the American was praised for his shot-stopping, and his consistency, after four years of playing second fiddle to others.
Also, three senior players, Darren Bent, Alan Hutton and Stephen Ireland, have been training with the youth team, according to the Birmingham Mail, as all three look to move away. None of them, it appears, will be in Lambert’s first-team plans for next season.
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