Aston Villa’s transfer business this summer has been impressive, but have the club left gaps with Jacob Ramsey and Carney Chukwuemeka in mind?
With the exit of Jack Grealish, Villa had to address our attack with Emiliano Buendia, Leon Bailey and Danny Ings brought in to fill that void.
The trio will hopefully all become important parts of a more dynamic unit that is less reliant on any one single individual, and so that should give us a more potent attack compared to last season.
In defence, Villa brought in Ashley Young and Axel Tuanzebe to replace those who departed to ensure we have enough depth and experience across the backline, while our goalkeeping ranks are perhaps a little light but has enough cover behind Emiliano Martinez to be content without adding more.
In turn, that ultimately leaves the midfield as the major talking point this summer as many Villa fans have expressed their disappointment on social media over the club’s decision not to sign another top player for that department.
It was not for the want of trying as we pursued Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, as per the Telegraph, but with that deal not materialising, we have effectively settled on what we’ve got.
Douglas Luiz, John McGinn, Morgan Sanson and Marvelous Nakamba will all be vying for a starting berth, but there are also two youth academy products that are also looking to make their mark this season. So, have Villa shown faith and decided that Ramsey and Chukwuemeka are ready to step up this season?
Ramsey and Chukwuemeka offered clear pathway and major opportunity
As we saw with Ramsey’s second-half display at Watford and then his performance against Newcastle Utd after claiming a starting spot, the 20-year-old was a massively positive influence on us both on and off the ball.
There was a sense of more confidence and a steeliness about him to try and get on the ball and be more impactful, whereas his previous performances have perhaps all been a bit too passive as he settled into the senior side and wanted to do the basics right to avoid making any costly mistakes.
Ramsey’s technical quality, awareness on the pitch and his potential in the final third make him a stand-out talent, one that Smith has never been shy about discussing and tipping for big things. Well, with the lack of additions in that area, the stage is set for Ramsey to now step forward and take on that responsibility to prove himself at the top level.
The same can be said of Chukwuemeka who enjoyed a memorable rise on his way to helping Villa lift the FA Youth Cup last season, which culminated with him making his breakthrough for the first team in the final two games of the campaign.
After earning his first Premier League start last weekend, he’s another who, despite only being 17 years of age still, Smith rates highly and is prepared to give opportunities to in order to impress and develop into a regular starter.
Villa can’t put so much focus and investment into the Academy and then just ignore talent that comes through that has the potential of being major assets to the side moving forward. Similarly for the fans, we can’t scream out for our homegrown players to get a chance but then want big-money signings too that will block their path.
While we may well end up investing in the midfield in January or next summer if needed, both Ramsey and Chukwuemeka have a big chance to carve their spot into this XI this season, and it’s hoped that they both succeed as it would be such a lift for all concerned if they prove themselves at that level and become key solutions for Smith.