Official: Aston Villa confirm Bjorn Engels exit to join Royal Antwerp

Aston Villa have officially announced that Bjorn Engels has left the club, and has completed a switch to Royal Antwerp.

The 26-year-old arrived at Villa from Reims in 2019, and went on to make 19 appearances for the club.

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However, with a lack of playing time and opportunities under Dean Smith last season, the towering centre-half has opted for a fresh start, and the club’s official site has confirmed that he has returned to Belgium to join Antwerp.

Engels played an important role in the 2019/20 campaign, but ultimately with Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa firmly establishing themselves as the first-choice pairing in the heart of the backline this past season, opportunities have been hard to come by for the Belgian.

To his credit, instead of sitting on the bench and not knowing when he might get another chance to impress and to continue to develop and improve his game, he has opted to return to his homeland to rediscover his best form and hopefully kick-start his career again.

For Villa and Smith, it leaves a void that may well need to be filled this summer, with a lack of depth a potential concern as Kortney Hause is likely to be the only back-up option available heading into the new campaign.

As we try to push on and compete at the top level, that is ultimately not going to be enough and so it’s expected that Villa will make a move for a centre-half between now and the end of the transfer window.

For now though, we wish Engels well in the future and thank him for his contribution to the club.