Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has once again reiterated his stance on only wanting to sign players who significantly improve his current squad.
Villa were relatively quiet in the January transfer window with Alex Moreno and Jhon Duran our only signings, while seven players in total moved on and left the club through a combination of recalls, permanent departures and loan moves.
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That in turn has led to concern in some quarters about a possible lack of depth in the squad, and despite Emery publicly revealing that he wanted to sign a winger last month if possible, one didn’t arrive and Villa ultimately recalled Bertrand Traore from his loan spell in Turkey.
Given the improvement that he has overseen in the squad as a whole but with specific individuals stepping up their respective games too since Emery took charge, there is hope that Traore follows a similar path and flourishes under the Spaniard if and when he’s given opportunities.
The Burkina Faso international could certainly be an important option for us if he finds his best form, as Emery insisted that he’s happy with the squad and was content to stick with what we’ve got rather than sign players for the sake of it.
Emery on Traore, transfer window
“I am sure and I am so convinced about his quality, and how much he can help us from now until the end of the season,” he said, as per Villa TV. “We were following some players and analysing if they are better than the players we have or better than the possibility to have Bertrand Traoré back again.
“We decided that if we don’t have a possibility to sign a player who can improve our squad, improve our wingers, then we were sure – don’t do it.
“At the end [of the transfer window], I am so happy because I think we have players with big commitment and showing us good performances.”
Meanwhile, Emery also provided some insight into Duran, with the 19-year-old now having had a week or so training with the squad as he looks to settle and adapt as quickly as possible.
The expectation is that we’ll take our time with his development and won’t rush him into action, but there will be an important balancing act in that process as he also needs minutes and experience of playing in the Premier League to raise his game and familiarise himself with the tempo and level of quality.
Based on his comments below, Emery seems pleased with Duran’s mentality and approach thus far, and we’ll hopefully get our first look at him this Saturday.
Ideally, Villa will be in a comfortable enough position to give him significant minutes in the latter stages of the game, and that will help his integration into the side as he looks to hit the ground running.
Emery on Jhon Duran
“I can’t give him the responsibility and pressure now, but he’s a professional,” he added to the media. “He was playing in the MLS and that’s not like here in the Premier League but he’s training very well.
“He’s hungry to build up quickly and he’s learning quickly from his teammates. He has the possibility to play minutes tomorrow and to make his debut.”
Emery added: “Jhon Durán is going to improve and grow up with us. He’s going to play matches and get minutes.
“He’s going to be on the pitch and training with us every day. We signed him without wanting to give him the responsibility to be our striker in the starting XI, but if he will show us he’s ready to do it, I will do it.”