Keinan Davis has been linked with a loan move away to Oldham, which must be disappointing for the former Young Player of the Year – but do these loan rumours make sense for Aston Villa?
Words by Matt Blogg (@Blogg_Matt) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)
Last season’s Young Player of the Year, Keinan Davis had a decent breakthrough last year, becoming an established first team player and endearing himself to fans for his unique and brilliant hold up play. He scored twice in the early stages of last season away at Barnsley and Burton, but failed to find the net in any other games apart from the FA Cup defeat to Peterbrough, so while the rumours of potentially sending him out on loan are disappointing, it is difficult to argue with them in this respect.
In terms of the pecking order at Aston Villa, he is not at the top of many people’s lists. Kodjia and Hogan are undoubtedly ahead of Davis in Bruce’s eyes, especially due to the fact that the formation we have got used to seeing Villa play only has one striker. I wrote a piece early in July discussing who should lead Villa’s line, and Keinan Davis was behind the other two men in my opinion, and my opinion hasn’t changed yet.
As a lone striker, he hasn’t got the pace or creativity to perform the way the team would need him to, and the way that Kodjia and Hogan can perform. Having said this however, if Grealish and Hourihane are allowed to progress forward more and offer the striker more support from midfield, then Davis connecting the midfield and attack with his hold up play could be very important. Also, if Bruce decides to go with the 3-5-2 that he’s been tinkering with in pre-season, Davis could be a real asset for Villa as he is such a different player to the other two aforementioned strikers. He is the ideal striker for a two-man front line as he can bully the defenders and free up space for his strike partner, so sending him on loan would potentially force Villa to be a very one dimensional attacking team, unless Bruce was to sign another striker of similar ilk to the 20 year old.
Towards the end of last season, Davis fell completely out of favour after the arrival of Lewis Grabban, and even found himself back with the under 23’s some weeks, but now Grabban has left Villa Park and freed up a space in the squad, it really could be Davis’ to fill. He would have to work his way back up the pecking order again, but considering he is one of only three main strikers at Villa Park, it does seem silly in a way to let him go. Injuries to the fragile Kodjia and injury-prone Hogan would open up a very accessible door to Keinan Davis, so sending him on loan to a team like the rumoured Oldham Athletic could be a huge mistake. However, it could also allow the youngster to play a full, consistent season, test himself against serious centre backs every week and hopefully notch a decent tally of goals, so there really is a strong argument for both.
So the loan rumours make sense, but they don’t make sense. Keinan Davis is not a prolific goalscorer and clearly isn’t in Bruce’s immediate plans, but he proved last year that he can cope with the Championship and can offer Villa something that no one else really can, so the rumours are slightly disappointing in some respects. Maybe a 6 month loan would be better for player and club, but at the end of the day, if he isn’t going to get any decent game time at Villa, then every fan would have to encourage a loan move so he can continue to progress and return to the Villa fold ready to take the first team by storm.