Aston Villa are undergoing a transition phase at the moment, and after surviving the drop last season, the future looks bright. Paul Lambert brought a number of young players into the first team last year, and they will look to build upon their first years of Premier League experience.
The average age of Villa’s squad is only 24.5 years old, with Shay Given being the only player at Villa Park in their 30s. Villa now need to bring in players that can compete for first team places if they are to establish themselves as a top half team once again.
The Express suggest that Paul Lambert is now targeting Japan’s attacking midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake to support Christian Benteke.
At 23 years old, the Nurnberg forward is young enough to be a good investment in the future, whilst also being experienced enough to make an instant impact on the first team.
Kiyotake had a successful first season in Europe with Nurnberg. The Japan international adapted quickly to the pace of the Bundesliga and was able to score 4 times, as well as reaching double figures for goals provided.
Kiyotake is extremely good at running at defences with the ball and beating players. If Kiyotake could do this for Villa, it would create more room for Benteke, who has the talent to capitalise on this, and punish his opponent.
One of Aston Villa’s best attributes in recent seasons, has been their ability on the counter. If Lambert could use Kiyotake through the middle with Benteke, as well as the pace of Agbonlahor on the break, Villa would be a real threat. It could also tie up a lot of the oppositions defenders when defending corners, leading to less goals conceded.
The Nurnberg man also takes both free kicks and corners for his club, and has set up a lot of goals this way. Kiyotake’s prowess in dead ball situations would be a great bonus for Paul Lambert, as Aston Villa have been lacking a strong set piece taker since former captain Stilyan Petrov retired.
If Aston Villa were able to bring in Kiyotake, it would be undoubtedly a great buy for them. However, the deal looks unlikely. The Daily Mail has reported that Nurnberg general manager Martin Bader has stated that the midfielder is will not be leaving.
With this statement, it is unlikely that the German club would accept less than £10m for the player. Whilst Kiyotake does look like a great talent, I don’t think that Villa can afford to pay that kind of money for a player who hasn’t proven himself at the top level.