With Aston Villa confirming an agreement with Sevilla to sign Ludwig Augustinsson, what will the Swedish international add to Steven Gerrard’s squad?
As per the club’s official site, Villa will sign Augustinsson on an initial season-long loan deal, with an option to buy included in the agreement for the 28-year-old, an aspect of the move that was confirmed in Sevilla’s statement.
The expectation for the upcoming campaign, barring injury or a significant loss of form, is that Lucas Digne will be Gerrard’s first-choice left-back, and so Augustinsson arrives to provide competition and cover in that position.
While it’s a boost to have another natural in that role along with Ashley Young who can cover there if needed, Villa have evidently picked the Swede for a reason, and a closer look at his overall game and style of play on the pitch shows that it should be a good fit.
Augustinsson offers key attributes to bolster Villa defence
As we’ve seen since Gerrard arrived at the club, the Villa boss places a great emphasis on his full-backs being influential in both phases of the game.
The priority is to produce a solid defensive base, but he also expects them to push forward to provide width and an attacking outlet to stretch the pitch and create spaces inside for his creative players to hurt the opposition.
Augustinsson has shown a clear ability to offer that during his time at Sevilla and with Sweden, as he loves to bomb forward and get crosses into the box to act as a key part of the attacking style of play.
In the other phase of the game, he plays with an aggression and physical approach as he enjoys getting stuck into a tackle and applying pressure on the attacker facing him.
All those attributes should fit with how Villa want to play and what we need from our left-back to provide a balance with Matty Cash on the opposite flank. In turn, it looks as though this is a smart piece of business from Villa from a short-term perspective, but it also makes sense in the long run too.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen if Augustinsson does enough this season to convince Villa to sign him outright. However, his loan spell should allow the club to send youngster Ben Chrisene out on loan to give him an opportunity to earn valuable experience and playing time, rather than be stuck on the bench behind Digne and not getting enough minutes.
Gerrard will no doubt be pleased when this deal is wrapped up, as it ticks another box on his to-do list this summer, allowing him and Villa to focus their attention elsewhere in the coming weeks to continue to strengthen the squad.