Over the last forty-eight hours there have been widespread reports linking South Korean international Ki Sung-Yueng to Aston Villa. Ki, who is currently a Swansea City player but spent last season on loan at Sunderland, was initially reported to be making a move to Villa for around £1.5 million but since the early hours of Monday morning the estimated transfer fee has risen to around £6 million.
Twenty-five-year-old Sung-Yueng has received plenty of plaudits over the last two seasons and it is clear to see why when looking at the South Korean’s statistics. Over the course of the 2013-14 season Ki averaged a pass completion rate of a very impressive 90%. This is a higher percentage than any midfielder wearing an Aston Villa shirt managed last season. Fabian Delph, unsurprisingly, had the highest rate of successful passes among the Villans in midfield, completing 83% of his, with Westwood not far behind on 82%. Karim El Ahmadi completed 81% of his passes last season whilst Yacouba Sylla (who has now been loaned out to Kayseri Erciyesspor) successfully managed to complete an underwhelming 77% of passes during his bit-part appearances last term.
In the year 2013, Ki Sung-Yueng had the second highest pass completion rate of any player playing in Europe’s top five leagues. Valon Behrami of Napoli had the highest pass completion rate, successfully making 91.7% his passes. Ki managed to complete 91.2% of his attempted passes. Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Moussa Dembele had the third highest pass completion rate, managing to complete 90.5% of his passes.
The twenty-five-year-old has been at Swansea since 2012 and has made thirty appearances for The Swans but has not scored any goals for them during his time there. Sung-Yueng did, however, score three goals in the twenty-seven games he played for Sunderland last season. The defensive midfielder has sixty international caps, scoring five goals along the way. This is an impressive number of international caps for a twenty-five-year-old and his international experience could prove to be vital to Villa’s successes.
Ki’s addition to the squad would bolster our midfield massively. Many think that the weak link in the midfield three that Lambert likes to play is El Ahmadi, as he gives the ball away more often than Westwood and Delph. Additionally, some fans feel he doesn’t put enough into challenges and quite often bottles 50/50s. Ki is well known for making a crunching tackle if he has to and won’t be bullied out of possession easily.
His presence in our midfield should allow Delph and Westwood more freedom and chances to venture forward, hopefully creating more goalscoring opportunities. Sung-Yueng would also help to make the back line a bit sturdier if he were to sit in front of it trying to break any opposition chances down.
It has been a long time since Aston Villa Football Club has had a player with the same playing style as Ki and the club has definitely been lacking one. Hopefully, the rumoured arrival of Ki will materialise, lifting fans’ spirits and getting everyone involved with the club a bit more excited about the season ahead.