This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Aston Villa are weighing up a move for Stoke City midfielder Ryan Woods, if the Villans fail in their efforts to sign Leeds United star Kalvin Phillips, according to a report in The Mirror.
Villa boss Dean Smith know Woods from his time at Brentford where he made 122 appearances in a four0year spell, and the 25-year-old is likely to become a target if Smith fails to land Phillips.
So would Woods be a good signing for Villa, if they fail to land Phillips?
“Ryan Woods is a great Championship midfielder but it is perhaps a bit too soon for him to make the step-up to the Premier League.
“Villa need a player ready to dominate games in the Premier League. Phillips would quickly adjust and get up to speed but it is a worry that Woods would not be able to, particularly after a stop-start campaign with Stoke last year.
“Woods is a similar player to Phillips, they’re both great at breaking up play and can pick a pass, but it would be worth spending a bit more on Phillips in order to get him. He is younger and could potentially be playing in the top-half of the Premier League in a few years.
“There is always the possibility that Woods will develop into a Premier League player but right now he would be a risk for Villa, and if they want to stay up they need players they can depend on for consistent performances.”
“Signing Woods could be a good bit of business from Dean Smith but he is certainly no Phillips.
“Woods showed some real class at Brentford but struggled after his switch to Stoke in January.
“He is much more of an unknown quantity than the Leeds man but should be available for a much lower fee.
“The 25-year-old is certainly a promising talent and could be a good asset if Villa can develop him but I don’t think he is ready for the Premier League yet.”
“I think it would be considered something of a downgrade if Villa turned to Woods as a back-up option for Phillips.
“Phillips was one of the best players in the Championship last season, whereas Woods had a difficult time of it at Stoke and struggled to make a similar impact. The only reason this deal could perhaps work is because of Dean Smiths relationship with Woods from Brentford.
“The Villa boss really managed to get the best out of the midfielder at Griffin Park, and made him look Premier League quality when he was at his best. However, signing him would be a risk as it remains to be seen how much his season at Stoke has affected him as a player.
“I don’t think the addition of Woods would strengthen Villa’s starting midfield in the same way Phillips would, but he could provide some solid midfield depth if this is what Smith is looking for.”