With Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations severely impacting Villa’s spending prowess this summer, Steve Bruce will be looking to generate funds by offloading several members of his squad. We fully expect the group of loan rangers we have scattered around Europe to be the first to depart. One player who’s future isn’t quite so clear is French left back Jordan Amavi.
Amavi joined the club at the beginning of our last Premier League campaign. Straight away he looked the business, bombing up and down the left flank. His positive and attacking play enabled him to grab a couple of assists and it became clear that Rudy Gestede looked more effective when having somebody who could occasionally whip in a decent cross.
Of course, this being Aston Villa, things would soon nosedive south. Perhaps our brightest spark in a dismal start to the season became injured. In a French under-21 match, Amavi tore his anterior cruciate ligament and that would be that for the remainder of the season. We were treated to just ten appearances in total.
If there was one silver lining, then it was the fact that Amavi would likely be staying with us for another season due to the severity of the injury and so, we were all optimistic that the youngster would return to tear up the Championship.
Except that it didn’t quite happen. Inconsistent form, plus the arrival of Neil Taylor in January meant that the French youngster endured an indifferent campaign. Many supporters had suggested that perhaps Amavi could be utilised further up the pitch instead as a winger. It certainly made sense and Bruce gave it a whirl but the results weren’t quite as impressive as we’d hoped.
Which leaves us in a peculiar situation. Amavi’s popularity amongst the Villa faithful has somewhat waned. To the extent that many now seem happy enough to see him leave. There is a very strong likelihood that Amavi won’t be a Villa player at the start of next season.
In my opinion, losing Amavi would be a huge missed opportunity.
For a start, we only need to take a look at the calibre of the clubs who are reportedly in negotiations with Amavi. Atletico Madrid and Napoli are at the forefront for the former Nice man’s signature. With that sort of interest, let’s not kid ourselves that Amavi isn’t good enough to play for Aston Villa. Atletico is less likely and Guts football live betting agree with that statement due to Atletico currently being banned from making any new purchases this window.
The real issue is working out exactly why Amavi didn’t fulfil expectations last season and it is one of two things.
Firstly, the ACL injury suffered by Amavi cannot be discounted. Although he participated in pre-season last year, the effects of such a serious injury would take the time to fully recuperate from. Indeed, Amavi didn’t start a game last season until midway through September. Despite looking strong enough during some early appearances, it is likely that the injury took an edge off the player which needed to be regained. Form and Taylor’s arrival made an extended run in the side tough which meant that peak match fitness was tough to come by.
The second, more clandestine theory is that Amavi’s form dipped as soon as the Chairman Dr Tony Xia tweeted news that a bid of £25 million had been rejected for the player. The bid, from an unknown club but believed to be from China, sparked much debate amongst supporters. Had there really been such an offer? And if so, were we mad to turn down such a large bid for an underperforming player? It is entirely possible that Amavi’s head was turned by an offer which undoubtedly would’ve come with a huge hike in his weekly wage packet too.
Amavi arrived for £9.35million (according to Transfermarkt.co.uk). Certainly, that proposed £25 million figure represented a hefty increase for a player who has only made a total of thirty-five starts in a Villa shirt (even less at the time of that bid). However, due to an underwhelming second half of the season, it is unlikely that a bid in that region will be forthcoming again.
In short, if we were going to cash-in, that was the time to do it. Realistically, now we may actually not receive too much more than the £9 million we paid for Amavi. So, is it really worth doing so now?
For me, if the big bucks are off the table, I’d much rather keep him. Amavi clearly has talent. We saw before his injury that he was a promising player. I still think that he can be utilised more as a winger than a left back if needed which is useful versatility but even if not, he provides excellent competition at left back alongside Taylor. Whether he was still overcoming his injury last season, or if he had his head turned, there is a good player in there still. I don’t see the point of selling him only to have to fill in the position with a replacement and add another new face at a time when we need to be building stability.
We currently have two very capable left backs – if we want to mount a successful promotion challenge depth in all positions is key over such a long season. Selling Amavi will probably only make us weaker overall.
It will be difficult to keep hold of Amavi with clubs like Atletico and Napoli sniffing around him but crucially, he still has three years left on his contract. We should be in no rush to sell him, and certainly not bullied to do so on the cheap. If the player wishes to leave, then obviously we are in a difficult situation but I still think that it would be nice for us not to cave into the demands of a player. If he wants a move, then surely it is in his best interests to earn it with impressive displays. It will not impede us to say no to the move at this point with a decent length of time left on his contract; Amavi would only be hindering his own career by not putting in the effort.
There is a real feeling in my bones that Amavi will blossom into one of Europe’s finest wingbacks. He is still young at just twenty three years old. We shouldn’t be so quick to write him off. It would be typical of us to be happy to take a paltry offer now but bemoan several years later that we let him go for a pittance and to look at what we could’ve had.