First Villa Signing
As expected former Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick has joined Aston Villa in what is reported to around £3 million in a three-year deal.
During almost four years at Bournemouth, Elphick played a vital part as the Cherries captain during the most successful period of the club’s history, including winning the Championship title in the 2014/2015 season.
The centre-back played 145 times for Bournemouth across three divisions, although injury limited him to 12 games last season.
“Throughout his time here he has been a model professional, and will now leave behind the legacy of being this football club’s most successful captain, leading us to two promotions and two club-record finishes.
“It is always difficult to say goodbye to people who have played such a huge part in our success, but we now wish him all the best in his next challenge at Aston Villa.”
Changing of the Guard
The arrival of Elphick is already is a clear indication of the change to come at Villa Park. The former Bournemouth will certainly be in the frame to be Villa captain in a new look first team and his arrival will certainly mean that at least one (if not all) of main four current centre-backs – Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark – will be shown the door.
If you had to pick one of those four centre-backs to partner Elphick, you would probably go with the pace of Okore, wouldn’t you?
The Danish centre-back though might be the most desirable of the Villa centre-backs for vultures to pick off in the summer transfer window. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Richards, whose stock will have dropped considerably after last season, although many had question marks about him in the first place. For that reason, he may still be on Villa’s books come the start of the season.
The indications are that Ciaran Clark may seek pastures new, but despite reports of WBA and Sunderland interest, there doesn’t seem to be a long line of suitors. It is probably time the club cut their losses with the error-prone Irish centre-back though.
If Villa can also off-load the mistake of a signing that was Lescott, then they certainly should do. That would leave the question of whether Nathan Baker should be welcomed back into the fold after his decent loan period at Bristol City. If you look at Villa needing a quartet of centre-backs to get through next season, then maybe Baker should be one of them.
There’s previously been a few local newspaper stories about Villa’s first signing needing to be a striker. That’s lazy journalism and showing little pragmatic football knowledge. Most successful sides are built, starting from the back.
The main Achilles heel in recent seasons for Aston Villa have been the lack of organisation and discipline in defence. Tommy Elphick is certainly a solid step in the right direction of solving that problem.
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