If you compare Aston Villa to where they were at the end of last season to the present day, you will see stark differences.
Now, we're not suggesting they'll do a Leicester and win the title but there are some similarities.
The Villans survived the drop by the very skin of their teeth in 2019/20 and are now playing swashbuckling counter-attacking football.
After eight games of the new campaign, they sit sixth in the Premier League having dispatched Liverpool 7-2 and Arsenal 3-0.
It has been a remarkable term for Dean Smith's men so far and they are buoyed by the goals of new signing Ollie Watkins and in the ingenuity of Jack Grealish, someone who's now become an England regular.
They have a brilliant core and come January, you'd be forgiven for thinking they'd stick with that they have, rather than twist.
Yet, they need to continue to improve all the time.
One way they could do so is by signing French defender Mohamed Simakan.
The centre-back has been touted with a move to Aston Villa before but the player's agent has now come out and reiterated their interest, suggesting he could leave his current club Strasbourg in January.
Speaking this week (via Express & Star), Francesco di Frisco said:
"There were many teams on Simakan – Lyon, Aston Villa and Borussia Dortmund.
“I think these clubs, including AC Milan, will try to push again (in January). The boy has picked up where he left off, showing his qualities, and it is possible his admirers will also increase."
With some illustrious clubs in the race to sign Simakan, it won't be an easy deal to pull off but they hopefully won't have to part company with too much cash.
The 20-year-old is currently rated at £13.5m according to Transfermarkt.
GIVEMESPORT'S Matt Dawson says...
There has been very little wrong with the defensive duo of Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings this season but remarkably, Simakan does usurp them in a number of areas this season.
The young defender, who can also play at right-back, has been a consistent presence in Ligue 1 this term and has won an impressive 1.8 aerial duels per game.
On top of that, the Strasbourg man also makes 2.2 successful tackles per match and 1.9 interceptions.
For context, Konsa and Mings have both managed just 0.9 and 0.6 tackles a game respectively. In terms of interceptions, the defensive combination have only made 0.7 each.
It may point to the fact that Villa are doing less defending this season, but Simakan would clearly add something to the defensive make-up of Smith's squad.
He would also surely relish the opportunity of learning from one of the most decorated centre-backs, John Terry.News Now - Sport News