Where would Villa be in the Premier League standings without the services of Champions’ League winner Ryan Bertrand?
The left-back was brought in on loan by manager Paul Lambert in the January transfer window due to a number of poor performances by Antonio Luna and the absence of injured Joe Bennett, which saw the Villans struggle defensively.
Since his arrival, Bertrand has performed at a satisfactory standard, improving the side’s defensive vulnerabilities as well as posing an attacking threat with pace, swift movement and positive distribution.
The Villans have lacked quality on the left flank for too long and Lambert has tried to address the issue since purchasing three left-backs during his reign – two of whom have failed to patch up the problems.
Lambert’s side has picked up nine points from, and conceded twenty-two goals in, the games that the Englishman started since his debut in the 2-2 draw with Liverpool in January. Bertrand has made thirteen appearances in the Premier League for Villa. There is no doubt that Bertrand has improved the side and I am struggling to see how Luna or Bennett could have done a better job in most of the twelve games, although Bennett was most impressive when he replaced the ineligible Bertrand in the win over Chelsea.
Obviously, we should not judge results on one player’s participation but Bertrand’s contribution gives us an idea of what could have been. Villa’s current crop currently sit only five points clear of the bottom three, have lost a record ten Premier League home games – for the first time in the Aston Villa Football Club’s history – and are on course to finish below last season’s points tally, despite constant cries of ‘progress’ from the board.
One thing that must be addressed in the summer – irrespective of any sale of the club – is buying Bertrand on a permanent deal or bringing in a left-back blessed with similar ability at least.
Jose Mourinho insists that Bertrand has a future at Chelsea, although many believe that to be untrue, and clubs Bertrand previously spent time with on loan, most notably Nottingham Forest, were unsuccessful in their efforts to sign him permanently. Coming from Chelsea and having made his European debut in the Champions’ League final, Bertrand’s stock appears to be somewhat inflated. He has an estimated market value of £5.3 million, a figure some Villa fans believe is too high given the twenty-four-year old’s solid, if unspectacular, performances for Aston Villa in 2014.
Bertrand himself has acknowledged that he needs to be playing regularly, something he struggled to do at Chelsea, and it is believed he has enjoyed his time with the Villans:
“Come the summer I need to be the number one left-back, wherever that will be.
I have ambitions but I have to be realistic as well. I will sit down and consider all my options.
Staying here isn’t something I would rule out. I’ve had years of playing but since I was seventeen I have been on loan, basically.”
It is, however, unclear how recent events may have altered Bertrand’s perception of Aston Villa Football Club.
Would you like to see Ryan Bertrand move to B6 on a permanent basis? Could a better left-back be found for £5 million? As always, feel free to comment.