Aston Villa eye move for "special" defender

Rico Henry pre-match

Aston Villa managed to save their season by the very skin of their teeth.

For a long period of time, it looked as though Dean Smith's side were destined for relegation.

They couldn't get their strikers firing and their defence was riddled with mistakes.

However, the COVID period rather saved them. It gave Smith extra time to work out solutions to Villa's problems and his players responded perfectly once the break concluded.

They beat Crystal Palace and Arsenal in the final weeks of the season and drew with Everton in a four-match run that saw them go unbeaten.

It was a period that saved the Villans, as they survived on the final day with a draw against West Ham.

Had there been fans inside the stadium, a huge sigh of relief will have engulfed the surrounding areas. 

Dean Smith & John McGinn

Considering Villa spent over £120m last summer, they will have to be more careful about where they spend a year on. 

Clearly, that tactic didn't work.

However, they don't look as though they'll shy away from the big fees - it'll take a bid of £25m to buy Ollie Watkins from Brentford, for example.

Coincidentally, the Villans are now also targeting a further Bees star. That happens to be Rico Henry.

Subject of £7m interest from Celtic last year, he's now attracting more attention after Thomas Frank's team reached the Championship play-off final. 

The Daily Mail suggest that Henry has now caught the eye of Villa, but Brighton, West Brom, West Ham, Leeds and PSV Eindhoven are also in the chase. 

Rico Henry play-off final

GIVEMESPORT'S Matt Dawson says...

Aston Villa only signed Matt Targett last summer but clearly, they are in the mood to sign another full-back.

That's hardly surprising given that 31-year-old Neil Taylor is their back-up option on the left-hand side of defence. 

Henry, however, would be the perfect addition and could even challenge Targett for a place. 

He appeared 51 times in 2019/20, claiming three assists in the process but the most interesting point to note, is that Smith knows how to get the best out of him.

The Villa boss managed Henry at both Walsall and Brentford and has been full of praise for a player who has become somewhat of a favourite for him.

Rico Henry versus West Brom

In 2015, Smith compared the full-back to Ashley Cole and then went onto declare that he was a special individual.

He said: "The way he finished the game against Sheffield United made me not leave him out, which is tough because he’s got Andy Taylor breathing down his neck and he’s a really good player as well.

"But the kid is something special and on Tuesday night, he put in a special performance."

Fine praise indeed for a defender who could well cost new Sporting Director Johan Lange a bargain fee. 

Villa should be all over Henry this summer. 

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