Aston Villa have spent nearly £40m in centre-back signings over the past few weeks by bringing back Tyrone Mings (£20m) and Kortney Hause (£3m), and most recently Ezri Konsa (£12m) has followed suit but it doesn’t seem like manager Dean Smith is done there – which has left many supporters at Villa Park bewildered by the amount of defenders that could soon be at the club.
L’Equipe are reporting that Villa are in advanced talks with Stade Reims centre-back Bjorn Engels – who had only made his loan move permanent from Olympiacos back in March this year. The 24-year-old is a former academy graduate of Club Brugge in the Belgian top-flight where he played with Villa’s new club-record signing Wesley Moraes.
Engels compares himself to Manchester City’s £47.5m-rated centre-back John Stones – “I recognise a bit of myself in John Stones. I’m similar in height, in stature and also a defender who’s looking to play the ball out from the back. I look at him when he’s playing. What’s he doing? How is he positioning himself on the pitch.”
If the former Belgium youth international is actually anything like Stones then Villa fans should get excited, though, that doesn’t seem to be the case with a lot of fans wondering why they need so many defenders – with some even suggesting that long-serving centre-back James Chester could be on his way out.
You can read some of the thoughts from the Villa supporters below:
Flipping heck. We are really solidifying the defence aren’t we? This was the area which cost us games last season so fair play to #avfc. I just hope that we get another striker in for some extra goals. @AVFCOfficial
— Felicio Domingo (@rodrigojbk) July 11, 2019
Why not? Chester is risky because of injuries. In that case we only have Mings, Hause and Konsa and you cant come into a PL season with three fully fit centre backs. Two of them have no PL experience as well.
— Sani K (@Kubinja) July 11, 2019
I’ll be honest lads it’s hard keeping up ???? unreal window to date and this won’t be the last. Signings seem well thought out, carefully planned and the bond seems incredible among the squad. Exciting times.
— Eamon McElwee (@eamonmcelwee01) July 11, 2019
I like it..play all these centre backs in 6 3 1 formation ????????????
— Adam Lucas (@adspencerlucas) July 11, 2019
If Deano brings in Engels, it means he is not comfortable with wath he has seen from Chester`s injury situations! #avfc
— Espen Strand (@espenstrand) July 11, 2019
How many centre backs do we need
— gaming and football guy (@gamingandfootb2) July 11, 2019
Overrated and often injured
— I’m Hard 4 Aston Villa (@Hard4AstonVilla) July 11, 2019
This a signal Chester won’t be able to play next season?
— James (@JBaker_24) July 11, 2019