Friday, December 2, 2022

Aston Villa Missed Out On Signing Champions League Winner Because Of This: Did Smith Take The Right Call?

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Ayush Chaurasia
Sports Management Graduate. Wannabe sports manager/writer and researcher. If not found disscussing about sports, will be seen talking about movies or tv shows. Miserable rest of the times.

Aston Villa were the second-highest spenders in the summer this season as they bolstered their squad to prepare for the Premier League challenge. However, they decided to pull the plug on one of the signings as the Villans were unwilling to match the fee for former Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

Mignolet on interest from the Premier League

Mignolet recently revealed that there was interest in him from some Premier League clubs including Villa. The Champions League winner said (Het Nieuwsblad via Sport Witness), ”Clubs valuate the cost of what they have to pay me, to Liverpool plus the resale value. For teams like Crystal Palace, Bournemouth or Aston Villa, that was too high… Same with Porto and Benfica. They were very concrete.”

Villa were also linked with Stoke City’s custodian Jack Butland who was being valued at £25m. Mignolet was eventually sold to Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge for £8m. Villa meanwhile managed to acquire the services of Tom Heaton who has become the first choice goalkeeper over Jed Steer.

Did Smith take the right call?

We think that Dean Smith made the right choice by going after Heaton instead of Mignolet. The Belgian might have had some big-game experience while playing for Liverpool but he never really managed to convince everyone that he could be their long term no.1 goalkeeper.

Mignolet’s short-range shot-stopping skills and reflexes are impressive, but the 31-year-old has often been guilty of committing basic errors because of his poor handling and judgement. Moreover, the 22-times Belgian international looks dodgy with the ball at his feet and he is not the best while playing out from the back.

Liverpool were finally able to gain success when they discarded average goalkeepers like Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius. Mignolet’s wage demands would have also been an issue for Villa, and the club took the right call by going after Heaton.

Heaton has been unlucky in the last few seasons with injury. Even though he was the captain of the Clarets, the 33-year-old failed to win back his place after a lengthy injury spell as Nick Pope put in some stunning displays in goal. More than just a goalkeeper, Heaton is a captain figure at the back as he always tries to organise the defence. The Englishman was guilty of making an error against Bournemouth, but in a long season, the former Burnley man will likely come out as a more safer bet than Mignolet.

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