Aston Villa have been paired with signing Vitoria defender Ibrahima Bamba this summer, as we seemingly look to bolster our options at the back.
After Jan Bednarek’s loan stint was cut short last month and with Diego Carlos only just returning to group training this week after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon back in August, Villa are still light in the centre-half positions.
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Fortunately, first-choice pairing Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have been able to establish an important partnership again under Unai Emery, but as we saw last weekend, we struggle in the absence of Mings, who was out due to injury, as Calum Chambers wasn’t able to step in and deputise with any real authority.
In turn, that is an area of the squad that may well be looked at this summer, and as per The Times, it appears as though Bamba could be an option for us, as it’s reported that we’ve opened talks already for the 20-year-old, who is said to be valued at around €10m.
That said, while it’s also added that we will have priority in transfer talks over other clubs – due to our hierarchy’s recent purchase of a significant share in Vitoria – there is a possibility that Bamba will be signed and then sent back to the Portuguese outfit on loan for another season.
The club released a statement earlier this week to confirm our holding company’s investment in Vitoria, as they have secured a 46 percent stake in the club as part of their plans for a multi-club strategy and network.
That subsequently could give us the advantage in talks for Bamba, but ultimately time will tell if the respective agreements can be reached to ensure that the transfer materialises this summer.
Ibrahima Bamba analysis, profile and statistics amid Villa interest
Having initially come through the youth ranks at Pro Vercelli, Bamba made the move to Vitoria in 2020 and after successfully making a positive impression at youth level there, he has gone on to establish himself in the senior side over the past year or so.
The 20-year-old has made 33 senior appearances for the club, and he has been an important piece in the side which has helped them to fifth place in the league standings after 20 games so far this season.
At a touch over 6ft tall, the talented youngster is a real presence at the back for Vitoria, but he pairs that with agility and athleticism along with speed to offer a solid option at the back.
Naturally at his young age, he still has a lot to learn and room to develop and improve his all-round game, and that will come with experience gained through regular playing time.
However, Bamba has shown an impressive level of awareness and reading of the game, which allows him to stay composed when making well-timed challenges and he can use his pace when needed to get across or recover and nullify a threat.
He is also comfortable playing in a defensive midfield role, and through that he has developed attributes which allow him to stay composed in possession, bring the ball out and play out from the back to transition into attack with his technical quality or ability to play long, accurate diagonal balls into the final third.
With his physical and aggressive defensive style coupled with his qualities on the ball, he ticks a lot of the right boxes that Emery is arguably looking to add to his squad to suit the style he is trying to implement, and so it’s no surprise that Bamba has been paired with a move to Villa.
There’s a lot to like about his game despite still being so young, and add Emery’s influence and ability to nurture his talent, it could be an excellent pairing and a top signing from Villa to offer a long-term solution in a key position.