It has been a strange season in some regard for Aston Villa this term. Steven Gerrard’s appointment mid-season did offer a small resurgence, but it’s likely that fans will still be disappointed with their finish in the middle of the season.
Making predictions today on Villa’s chances next season of achieving a top-six finish next term is complicated, as the summer off-season will present a number of huge questions for the hierarchy at the club.
There is likely no need for a massive overturn of players once again this summer, as there are solid building blocks in place to create a team that could compete for a top-six finish in the Premier League in 2022-23.
But, which players must the club keep hold of if they are to challenge for a European spot?
It’s fair to say that Aston Villa currently has one of the most exciting full-backs in the Premier League. Matty Cash has enjoyed another fine season with the club and was recently announced as the player of the season.
It has been a big season off the field for Cash too, as he announced that he would be switching international allegiance and playing for Poland.
The 24-year-old is likely to be of interest to a number of big clubs this summer, as sides already in the European positions look to bolster their squads. But, the Villa must keep hold of him at all costs.
The right-back has scored three goals and registered three assists this season, and has won an average of 1.1 aerial duels per game. He needs to be the bedrock of the Villa defence moving forward.
There were fears at the beginning of the season that Ollie Watkins may have been one of the forwards brushed aside following the arrival of Danny Ings from Southampton. However, the forward has been able to take his game up another level this year.
His ability to run the channels and create an out ball for the Villa midfielders is something that Ings and no other forward can offer. Watkins may finish with slightly fewer goals than he managed last term, but his overall performances have improved.
He has quickly become a Premier League player in just two seasons with the club, and his performances have already seen him linked with the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal ahead of the summer transfer window.
Gerrard will be keen to keep hold of the Englishman this summer, and Villa’s business may be key to their chances of keeping hold of the 26-year-old. It has been a big year in his career this year, as he also made his international debut for England, and has already scored one goal.
Staying put at Villa may be seen as a big incentive when it comes to his chances of making Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.
Jacob Ramsey has already become an integral part of the Villa team, but there is no denying that there will be a number of clubs monitoring the 20-year-old this summer. The midfielder has a connection to the club already, as he came through the youth setup, and has become more important this term as the season has progressed.
Ramsey has featured in 32 Premier League fixtures this season and has recorded his highest goal scoring season to date.
His six goals in the league also see him sit third on the list of the highest scorers for the club this season. His performances on the pitch have been wide beyond his years this season, as he has helped create an excellent partnership alongside John McGinn and Douglas Luiz.
Ramsey has a pass completion rate of 86.7% in the English top-flight this term and has contributed defensively by making averages of 0.7 clearances and 1.9 tackles per game. The 20-year-old is a player that the club needs to build around moving into the 2022-23 season.