Leander Dendoncker to Aston Villa
According to reports, Wolves and Belgian international, Leander Dendoncker is set to sign for Aston Villa today on the transfer window deadline day, for a figure thought to be around the £12m/£13m mark.
At the start of the day, the Express and Star, the local newspaper that covers Wolves, was reporting that Everton, Newcastle, West Ham were interested parties for the 27-year-old midfielder. So, Villa’s move seems to have certainly caught people off guard.
Cast your mind back four to five years, and Manchester United were seriously interested in capturing Dendoncker services from Anderlecht, before they eventually settled on Nemanja Matic. Jose Mourinho’s interest seemed perked, after tracking him across a couple of transfer windows. At the time, Anderlecht were valuing him at between £22m to £27m.
While Leander Dendoncker has been in and out of the Wolves team this season and might not excite the Villa Twitterati, there’s a lot of logic to the signing that makes Dendoncker a decent fit for Villa. For the current predicament Villa are in, they need Premier League harden players, so Dendoncker’s 124 Premier League games, helps mitigate any risk.
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At six-foot-two, he adds much needed physical presence in the midfield and importantly at set pieces (at both ends). Such a presence, alongside Boubacar Kamara, would hopefully provide a more solid base to help the more attacking-minded midfielders to express themselves. With the Villa midfield in the past year being accused of being lightweight and surrendering games too easily (think Wolves, Leeds and Manchester City, last season), Dendoncker could be a shrewd acquisition in beefing it up from the get-go.
But his use case doesn’t end there, recently for the Belgian national team, Dendoncker tends to play on the right-hand side of a back three, as a more progressive centre-back. In light of the Diego Carlos injury, while Jan Bednarek is tipped to come in on loan from Southampton, having another recognised international centre-back, as cover, is a shrewd move.
In the future, if Villa’s system shifts and Villa get a top class central-midfielder in (or two), then Dendoncker along with Kamara, could play within a three at the back set-up too, allowing the likes of Matty Cash and Lucas Digne to play as more out-and-out wing-backs. You’d have players at the back, who are better in possession than your average centre-back, so it could be the next level of Villa’s evolution, as a team.
But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
Short-term, a solid practical move, while long-term still has potential to help progress Villa.
In other news, Aston Villa have confirmed that Tim Iroegbunam has joined Queens Park Rangers on a season-long loan.