The French connection

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This summer, Tim Sherwood has brought four players from Ligue 1 in France to Aston Villa Football Club and, although it is still very early in the season, I feel that I should evaluate how each player has settled in and adapted to the Premier League.

Jordan Amavi

It was rumoured that Villa faced competition from Arsenal to sign the former Nice left back, such was his reputation in France. He had a consistent season last year by all accounts and even managed to get into the whoscored.com European XI for last season.

Amavi has started his claret and blue career fairly well, looking threatening down the left wing and it seems that he is a competent defender as well. Against Manchester United, Amavi looked like one of our best players, constantly causing issues for the Red Devils’ defence.

I feel that Jordan Amavi could be one of the best defenders we have had at the club for years. He still needs some time to settle: as we saw last week at Crystal Palace, he struggled with the pace of the game at times and played a part in giving away Palace’s winning goal. Despite the mistake, he doesn’t look like giving up his place in the team.

Idrissa Gana Gueye

Idrissa Gueye arrived at the club following a successful spell at Lille, where he played Champions League football alongside Eden Hazard. In France, he was a known for being a tough tackling midfielder with a fierce shot on him.

It seems to me that Gueye is a proverbial ‘bag of energy’, judging by his first three games for the club. He is a player who likes to drive forward with the ball and he will often provide the link between defence and attack.

Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Westwood seem to complement each other in the heart of Villa’s midfield. They take the pressure off the players in front of them when the Villans are on the ball and provide a good way of keeping the ball and momentum when we attack.

Gueye is exactly the type of player we have been lacking for some years; he reminds me of Stiliyan Petrov and Gareth Barry in the way he plays the game. If he is anywhere near as successful at the club as those two players, he will be a tremendous signing.

Jordan Veretout

Again, this was a player whose club was reluctant to allow to leave. Nantes was determined to hold on to Veretout for as long as they possibly could and the boys in claret and blue weren’t alone in their interest in the midfielder, with Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton reportedly also showing an interest in Veretout.

During his first two games of the season, Veretout seemed off the pace of the game, particularly against Manchester United, when he was evidently unable to keep up with play in the second half before being substituted. However, for a player who only had forty-five minutes’ game time in pre-season, he didn’t do all that badly.

Veretout was left out of the starting XI against Crystal Palace last weekend but then played the entire game against Notts County, which included extra time, earlier in the week, and his fitness seemed to be vastly improved. He was one of the best players on the pitch during that game and he looked comfortable in the team.

I am excited to see what Veretout can do when he is settled at the club as he has shown some signs that he has quality. I think we have to have some patience with him as he is still a young player trying to adapt to a new environment.

Jordan Ayew

Last season, Jordan Ayew scored twelve goals for Lorient and was a top performer in Ligue 1. He had a much better season than his brother, Andre, who also made the switch to the Premier League this summer, signing for Swansea City on a free transfer.

Following the start to the season that Jordan Ayew has had, many fans have questioned whether we signed the ‘wrong Ayew brother’. I assure you that our scouts knew what they were doing in signing Jordan Ayew. He struggled against A.F.C. Bournemouth and Manchester United, whilst his brother was scoring for Swansea City against Chelsea and Newcastle.

Ayew played for seventy minutes on Tuesday against Notts County, when he was disappointing to say the least. He was constantly offside during the game and showed that he is still trying to adapt to English football. Ayew is a player we will have to have some patience with but, when he has settled, I’m sure he will be a hit for us.

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