A 3-1 win away to Red Bull Leipzig rounded off an impressive preseason for Dean Smith’s Aston Villa.
It also means it is only one week before the Premier League campaign starts as well as the closing of the summer transfer window.
In what has simply been an incredible window with favourites signed permanently in the shape of Tyrone Mings, Anwar El Ghazi and Kourtney Hause alongside fresh and exciting faces, it feels like it has almost been a perfect window.
Now before I fall foul of saying Aston Villa are doing what another club did (who let’s just say play in white and were relegated last season from the Premier League) it should be clear that it will be risky with so many new faces and will take time for the side to fully gel and become a unit but quite frankly it was essential.
For once we have a depth and strength in numbers in regards to virtually every position. We also have a core from last season.
Like many, I feel we just need another winger and a striker.
One of the players I have really wanted to see in claret and blue if possible is Said Benrahma from Brentford.
Reports tonight are appearing to confirm that Benrahma is closing in on a move to Villa Park and he woukd be another player to reunite with former manager Dean Smith.
For those who don’t know much about Benrahma, what would we be getting?
Plenty of videos will immediately show the confidence and skill on the ball that the Algerian possesses with an array of impressive tricks and repeated beating of defenders.
I spoke to two season ticket holders of over 10 years combined at Brentford who were happy to provide some insight into what they have seen from the right winger.
“Benrahma is the most creative player we have seen at the club. Granted Neil Maupay has scored a significant amount of important goals and gets most of the headlines but Benrahma has a confidence and unpredictability about him that no other player can match.
He has pace, is balanced in regards to use of both feet and has the creative spark and bag of tricks that get fans off their seats.
Although he is primarily a right winger, he is more than capable of drifting inside to support the centre forward and chip in with goals of his own.
He has also been able to confidently switch wings when needed or play as a second striker.
Having lost Romaine Sawyers, losing Neil Maupay and Said Benrahma would be tough to take, however we believe he could confidently make the step up to the Premier League and would suit Aston Villa and their attacking style under Dean Smith.”
Clearly well thought of, Benrahma boasts some impressive statistics to back up the positive reviews of his supporters.
Last season for Brentford, he made 45 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 and providing 17 assists.
In the Championship alone, he scored 10 and provided 15 assists.
This would have put him second in terms of goals at Villa last season behind Tammy Abraham (26) and top in regards to assists ahead of Conor Hourihane (11).
Before Brentford, Benrahma made his name in the French leagues, starting at Nice before numerous loan moves to Angers, Ajaccio and Chateauroux respectively.
It should also be noted that he is only 23 years old too which definitely fits the current profile for Villa.
He also managed 9 goals in 14 games at the start of 2019 and was nominated for the PFA Fans Player of the Month in both January and February as well as scoring several goal of the month contenders across the season.
At international level, he has represented Algeria twice, once in a friendly win over Senegal and the second was in the 2019 African Cup of Nations qualifiers in a 1-0 win over Tunisia.
The Premier League would obviously add to his push for further call ups into a side that recently won the African Cup of Nations and boasts players such as Riyad Mahrez, Nabil Bentaleb and Sofiane Feghouli.
Of course it may be paper talk, but links have been made all summer and he wasn’t involved in the opening EFL Championship fixture on Saturday.
Maybe Said Benrahma will indeed become signing number 13 since the end of the last campaign for Aston Villa.