Monday, September 26, 2022

Aston Villa Set To Rival Crystal Palace In Pursuit Of This Promising Full-Back: One For The Future?

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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.

Calciomercato has recently reported that Aston Villa are set to rival Crystal Palace in pursuit of Fabio Baptista from Benfica’s B team. It is understood that both the Villans and the Eagles, along with Atalanta, are keeping tabs on the Portuguese youngster’s progress ahead of a potential move in January or at the end of this campaign (via Calciomercato).

Baptista’s Rapid Rise In Portuguese Football

The 19-year-old came through the youth ranks of Sintrense before joining Benfica in the summer of 2019. He has gone on to feature in 26 matches for the Portuguese club’s Under-23 side, finding the back of the net once in the process.

The Lisboa-born starlet has also made three appearances for Benfica’s B team, picking up one assist so far. Baptista has caught the eye for putting in some strong displays at right-back over the past 12 months but is still waiting to play his first senior match for his current employers.

The two-time Portuguese Under-20 international has already shown a few glimpses of his true potential, so it would be a shrewd coup for the Villans if they can find a way to win the race for his signature in the future.

Aston Villa set to rival Crystal Palace in pursuit of Baptista (Aston Villa's Dean Smith is consoling his captain Jack Grealish in the photo)
Aston Villa’s English head coach Dean Smith (R) consoles Aston Villa’s English midfielder Jack Grealish on the pitch after the English League Cup final football match between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley stadium in London on March 1, 2020. – Manchester City won the game 2-1. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

What Does The Portuguese Full-Back Offer On The Field?

Baptista is quite an attack-minded right-back and is versatile enough to play in a more advanced role down the right flank. He is proficient at getting into some promising areas in the final third and can contribute by scoring or creating the odd goal from time to time. Standing at 1.69m, the Benfica starlet can easily be overpowered in the air which can sometimes make him a liability in defence.

The Portuguese whizkid is still a raw talent and would need time to mould himself into a first-team starter. However, there is no denying that he could potentially become a top player in his position someday, which explains why Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Atalanta are all monitoring his development in Portugal.

Is Baptista A Prospect For The Future?

The early signs suggest that Baptista is a player on the rise and would bolster the quality of Aston Villa’s academy if Dean Smith decides to bring him to the West Midlands in January or next summer.

At the moment, Baptista is not good enough to feature for the Villans in the Premier League. However, he is undoubtedly a prospect to look out for in the future and could potentially become a regular starter for Smith’s side in the coming years.

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