Friday, September 29, 2023

Aston Villa Midfielder Fancies Staying At Villa Park Until January: What Should Be Smith’s Play?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

The Express and Star has recently reported that Aston Villa midfielder Henri Lansbury fancies staying at Villa Park until January after he rejected an offer to take a pay-off by terminating his contract. Even though the English midfielder won’t be eligible to play competitively until January because Dean Smith left him out of his 25-man squad, yet he has decided to remain in training at Bodymoor Heath until the transfer window reopens this winter (via The Express and Star).

Lansbury’s Bit-Part Spell At Villa Park Recently

The former Arsenal youngster has picked up one assist in three matches in the EFL Cup this season. However, the 30-year-old is currently surplus to requirements at Villa Park with the Midlands outfit eager to move him on as soon as possible.

Lansbury was a valuable squad player for the Villans in the previous campaign when managed to secured five assists in 15 matches across all fronts. He ended the 2019-20 season with an average of 0.6 tackles, 0.2 clearances and 0.2 key passes per 90 minutes in the Premier League to his name. His underwhelming numbers are not a surprise because he made most of his appearances as a substitute last season. At least, the English playmaker managed to distribute the ball relatively well as evident from his pass completion rate of 78% in the English top tier (stats via whoscored).

Aston Villa's Lansbury fancies staying at Villa Park until January (Lansbury is seen in the picture)
Henri Lansbury of Aston Villa during the FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Swansea City at Villa Park on January 5, 2019, in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

What Does The London-Born Midfield Ace Offer On The Pitch?

Lansbury possesses the strength to dominate the aerial battles in midfield and is quite aggressive with his challenges at the centre of the park. He has even shown that he can be a decent orchestrator of goal-scoring opportunities in the opponent’s half but needs to work on his shooting if he wants to add a few goals to his game in the future. Plus, the 30-year-old needs to focus on earning possession back for his side more often by timing his tackles well in midfield.

At 30, the English midfielder doesn’t have age on his side, so it is only logical for him to seek a move to another club where he might have better luck securing regular first-team football in the coming seasons.

What Should Be Smith’s Play Here?

Currently, Dean Smith has enough depth in his midfield department as he has got the likes of Ross Barkley, Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Conor Hourihane and Marvelous Nakamba fighting for a midfield place in his first XI. Furthermore, Aston Villa were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Stoke City earlier this month which means that Smith doesn’t have the luxury to offer Lansbury any game time this season.

There is no reason for the Villans to change their stance on the English talent’s future at the moment. With all things considered, the West Midlands club would be wise to sanction Lansbury’s departure as soon as the winter transfer window opens in January.

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