Aston Villa have made a real statement of intent with the signing of Frederic Guilbert, who will join in the summer and more than likely replace out-of-contract Alan Hutton.
Words by Mark Jirobe (@VillaMarkPGH)
French defender Frederic Guilbert has joined Aston Villa on deadline day, but will join his previous club Caen on loan until the end of the season. Guilbert has featured sparingly for Caen, starting 24 games in all competitions for the French side this season.
Guilbert’s inclusion into the Aston Villa fold may be a precursor to Dean Smith’s desire for younger and more able fullbacks at his disposal. Alan Hutton is out of contract in the summer and a signing like this may signify that he will not be given a deal to keep him at Villa through next season. Right-back James Bree has also been sent out on loan to Ipswich Town to further his development for the future and it wouldn’t be out of the question for Bree and Guilbert to be sitting on top of the depth chart for the right side of the defence come the start of next season. It should be noted that the loan back to Caen for Guilbert very well could be over Caen being caught in the middle of a relegation battle at the moment. Aston Villa supporters will be wishing that they could see him have a part to play during the current season, but it is certain that Dean Smith is happy to secure this transfer for the next campaign.
The 24 year old has played 19 league games for Caen, thirteen as a right-back, five as a centre-back and once as a left-back. This kind of versatility may have been born of necessity, but Aston Villa could use a defensive minded player who can play in well in multiple positions.
Guilbert is known be a presence in the air with great jumping and heading ability for a defender who predominantly plays on the flanks. A defence-minded player who may have a bit of discipline issues is definitely someone that Aston Villa could use at their as a defensive rock if the club is to move forward towards their aspirations. While Guilbert could have a tendency to foul more frequently, his defensive responsibility is noteworthy and has an air of ‘no nonsense’, only heightened by his 82 clearances this season (3.4 per game). Guilbert only boasts a 74.8% passing success rate and may signify that his distribution could have room for improvement. (Stats via FotMob and WhoScored.com)
This is the type of signing that should thrill Aston Villa supporters. Dean Smith is looking like he is cashing in on his claims of making the squad younger, fitter and more modern. Villa has looked dated on the defensive flanks for a few seasons now and if Guilbert joining the club is an indication of what is to come in the summer, no supporter will be left with a grimace on their face.