With Aston Villa reportedly interested in another star of the African Cup of Nations, this could highlight a key choice by Dean Smith.
Words by Regan Foy | @FindFoy
Whilst there is no concrete evidence that Aston Villa are even interested in Egyptian winger Trezeguet – real name Mahmoud Hassan – some news outlets have reported that the club are preparing a bid in the region of £8,000,000 to secure his signature.
Now, this is interesting should it be true. Trezeguet is a left winger, who is right footed. Meaning he’s pretty much cut from the same cloth as Anwar El Ghazi, who the club permanently signed earlier this summer. You know, the whole, tricky, cut inside from the left and shoot-with-the-right vibe?
Here’s an example from the opening game of the 2019 African Cup of Nations:
Trezeguet does not seem as tricky, but you’d be mistaken in thinking otherwise. Across every league in Europe, the Egyptian winger was the third most successful dribbler – beating players like Eden Hazard in completed dribble percentages. Only long time Crystal Palace target Allan Saint-Maximin and Lionel Messi managed more.
In this window, Aston Villa have technically signed two wingers. Anwar El Ghazi signed permanently after spending the entirety of last season on loan at the club, and having a huge hand in both the promotion push and subsequent promotion, having scored in the Play-Off Final. Jota Peleteiro signed from Birmingham City also, who is more of an attacking midfielder but can also double up as a winger.
Now, here’s the thing. Jota is a left-footed right-winger, meaning like Anwar El Ghazi, he’ll be cutting inside and taking shots with his stronger foot. Andre Green is more of a left winger, with a stronger right foot, but has performed well at right-wing under Dean Smith.
Most fans thought that if Dean Smith were to sign another winger, it would be on the right side and that we would see Andre Green depart on loan – but if the Aston Villa interest in Trezeguet is real, then we could see a left-winger sign instead.
This opens things up tactically for Smith, who enjoyed rotating wingers throughout games – as shown by the tactical nous he showed with his management of Albert Adomah and Andre Green last season.
It could very much be the case that Aston Villa are in fact in the market for competition for El Ghazi, and that we may see the Play-Off Final goal-scorer rotated with Trezeguet or another option, and Jota and Andre Green rotated.
This fits in with what we’ve seen Dean Smith do previously, and with little to no competition for El Ghazi, we could see it happen. There’s also the option of reverting Andre Green back to his natural left-hand side, in which case a right-winger would be on the shopping list.
So it seems that Dean Smith’s plans for Andre Green are likely to be a major factor in the regard of potential incoming wingers – either way – a link like Trezeguet is exciting, and for £8,000,000 – you can’t baulk at that.