Aston Villa’s first season in the Championship didn’t plan out as they would have hoped, and they face the prospect of at least another season in England’s second tier.
The former European champions struggled to find any momentum at the beginning of the season, which saw then boss, Roberto di Matteo become one of the first managerial casualties of the season, leaving Villa in relegation trouble.
His successor, Steve Bruce, had the desired impact almost straight away, turning results around and getting Villa playing some good football, but that didn’t last, and Villa’s season soon fell away.
In January, Bruce’s first transfer window at Villa Park, we saw an exodus of players come and go, and you would expect that this will be the case again in the summer, as Bruce continues to put his stamp on the squad.
There is no doubting that if Villa are to challenge for promotion, imporvements need to be made to the starting 11, primarily at the back, but also in midfield.
Bruce tried to address the midfield situation in January by bringing in Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane, but neither have particularly hit the ground running.
In the coming months, Bruce should swoop to bring Burton Albion star, Jackson Irvine, to Villa Park.
The Aussie has set the Championship alight in his first season, netting 10 goals from midfield, no mean feat, especially in one of the league’s lower sides.
Irvine’s creativity and goal threat is exactly what Villa are missing in their midfield, which is why the Australian would be a perfect fit for Bruce’s men.
Goals from midfield are crucial in deciding whether a team goes up or not, and with Irvine’s contributions from midfield, Villa would certainly stand a much better chance.
Aston Villa certainly aren’t short of options in midfield, but Irvine’s guile could be the key to Premier League football for them.