Having secured Premier League football for another season, all attentions at Aston Villa will firmly be on how the club can strengthen their squad for the start of the new campaign next month.
Dean Smith’s side spent heavily last summer in a bid to beat the drop, and The Athletic claim that “as much as £80m could be invested”, with “two or three signings expected to go straight into Dean Smith’s strongest starting XI and a couple of others targeted to freshen up the squad”.
One man who has been linked with a move to Villa Park, is Brentford defender Rico Henry. Reports have suggested that Villa are searching for players with pace, and are keen on bringing in some wing-backs this summer, with the Bees ace fitting that description to a tee.
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The 23-year-old played 51 games last season as Brentford fell short at the last hurdle in the Championship play-off final against Fulham, playing the majority of his games at left-back, and at left-midfield too.
Henry has actually previously worked with Villa boss Dean Smith, when the pair were at Walsall together.
And speaking after the youngster was voted Football League Young Player of the Month back in October 2015, Smith said: “If I were to liken him to anyone it would be a young Ashley Cole. And it’s up to him how far he can now go in the game. I’ve recommended him a couple of times to the England Under-19s because, if there’s a better left-sided player in the country at 18 years of age, I’d like to see them.
Where do Villa need to strengthen?
“He’s a pleasure to coach and to have around the place, not just as a footballer but as a person. He’s got a great personality, which will hold him in good stead. He’s got a good engine and pace, he can get up and down the pitch and he’s got two goals already this season which is very good for a left-back.”
With Smith himself knowing all about Henry’s qualities, Villa can strike gold by bringing the Brentford speedster to the club this summer. It would give them a left-back who could potentially be a part of the back-line for at least the next five years or so.