Apart from the likes of the Blues and Leeds chasing the services of Tommy Elphick, the main transfer talking point this week seems to be – if a Hull Daily Mail journalist is to believed – the imminent arrival at Villa of Hull wing-back Ahmed Elmohamady.
While it’s a signing that lacks ‘WOW’ factor, it’s interesting in terms of Steve Bruce making a tweak to the current squad in an area where we thought we were well-stocked for options.
Handy or Mad?
It’s been mooted for a week-or-so, that Steve Bruce has had his eyes on Hull City’s right winger/wing back, Ahmed Elmohamady, and judging by Hull Daily Mail today, it seems the Egyptian could be heading Villa’s way this week to the tune of £1m.
The player played under Bruce at both Sunderland and Hull, so it’s no surprise to see the Villa boss aiming to sign him a third time.
The right-wing back was once an integral part of Hull’s yo-yo club of the past few seasons that got to an FA Cup final, but last season the Tiger’s faithful lost faith with the player, as they watched their team drop from the Premier League once again.
At 29-years-old, Elmohamady isn’t exactly past it, more in need of a new challenge, but the signing is a curious one in respect of Bruce’s plans for the season ahead.
If we’re talking a good-value squad player, than it makes some sense without any real further analysis, but when you look around the current Villa squad it does raises some big question marks.
Having made his name as a right wing-back in recent seasons, signing Elmohamady suggests that Bruce has his eyes on 3-5-2 as the formation for Villa next season (or at least one of them).
As MOMS suggested when discussing John Terry in detail, one way of preserving Terry and getting more games out of him, would also be to play him as one of three centre-backs.
Elmohamady is notably a decent crosser of the ball, something that has been lacking in the Villa team for several seasons.
It’s been so long that the Villa forwards and midfielders have had decent service, they have tended to stop running into the box to get on the end of things (this has again been apparent in Villa’s preseason games).
Now, wasn’t James Bree meant to be have been brought as an attack-minded right-back? What’s happened there? Doesn’t Bruce want to give the youngster (19) a chance? Doesn’t he view him as ready yet?
The ex-Barnsley player is currently behind Alan Hutton in the pecking order, who despite his huff and puff, is very limited going forward.
Then of course, there’s Ritchie De Laet, who was also seen as being a bit more progressive going forward than Hutton. While he’s getting back to full fitness, surely De Laet will be ready come August?
You would think Bruce will be looking to off-load at least one of his current right-backs, if Elmohamady is indeed incoming.
A switch to 3-5-2 would probably see Albert Adomah’s position in the first XI under threat. While he was Villa’s chief assist provider last season, he was never the type of winger to get fans off their seats and rarely was a legit focus for attacks. If the truth be told, Adomah was a bit of an anti-climax last season.
Still, in a 4-4-2, he has a role to play still, so expect him to stick around. It’s not inconceivable though that Elmohamady would be brought to also give Adomah direct competition for the right-wing berth.
If Villa can off-load one of their current right-backs, then there’s no harm in enlisting the services of Elmohamady, who has previously proven in a Hull shirt, he has more going forward than the current stable of Villa right-backs. He would also give Bruce a further option on the right-wing, if needed.
Villa have made worse signings when they were previously in the Premier League in recent seasons, so it could be sensible business, if the Egyptian regains his vigour for the game and hits the ground running next season.
NEW PODCAST EPISODE: