Bjorn Engels is another name that is close to completion according to The Telegraph and Sky Sports.
Words by Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Aston Villa, while very active in their first transfer window after being promoted, are still looking to beef up areas of the pitch for a rigorous Premier League campaign. The centreback position is no different. James Chester, Kortney Hause, Tyrone Mings and most recent acquisition Ezri Konsa would make a fine centreback core for the Villans.
But, Dean Smith seems to have an eye on a defender he tried to bring to Brentford last season before his switch to Villa. Björn Engels has been talked about in various Villa circles for well over the last 24 hours and it seems like this acquisition has some real possibility of happening. French media outlet L’Equipe was the first to report on the transfer link and was also the first to report Frederic Guilbert’s eventual transfer to AVFC earlier this year.
Engels was involved in 13 clean sheets through 33 games last season for Stade De Reims in Ligue One, but there is more to the story than just clean sheets. The 24-year-old Belgian centre-back may lack a bit of ability when it comes into putting in a tackle, but he averaged 5.4 clearances per game and 44 total interceptions.
At a towering 6’4″, Engels has heading ability for miles, winning 101 of 152 aerial challenges during his most recent campaign in France. While only being 24 years of age, Engels is known to be one of the brighter defensive prospects in Ligue One for some of the lesser bankrolled clubs in France. Strong performances against the likes of Monaco and Saint-Etienne have definitely risen the stock of Engels a bit and it appears as though if the time was right for him to make a move to a Premier League club, the time is now.
While thought to be nothing more than a mediocre passer of the ball, Engels maintained an 83.8% pass success rate with 125 accurate long ball efforts and 874 successful short passes. There is no coincidence that the scouting department at Aston Villa are bringing defenders through the door that have a fine passing ability, or have shown to be improving their passing throughout the entirety of a season. If Engels finds himself an Aston Villa player, the defensive side of the pitch would appear to be solidified for a Premier League season.