Aston Villa must not think twice and offer James Chester a new contract
Days after Aston Villa secured star midfielder Jack Grealish’s long-term future, the Villans have reportedly opened talks over a new contract with club captain and defensive mainstay James Chester (h/t The Telegraph). The 29-year-old centre-back has a little over eighteen months left on his existing deal and the club are trying to get him to sign an extension at the earliest possible (h/t The Telegraph).
It has been a difficult start to the season for Steve Bruce’s side so far. The Championship outfit find themselves 13th on the table, with just three victories from nine games. Things haven’t been going their way on the field, with the defence found lacking on a number of occasions. But Chester has been rare a bright spot for the Villans.
The defender, a graduate of the Manchester United academy, joined Villa in 2016 from West Bromwich Albion and soon became an integral part of the team. In the two years that he has been with the club, Chester has racked up 105 appearances, scoring 7 goals and setting up one more in the process.
Last season, the 29-year-old formed a formidable partnership alongside John Terry as Bruce’s team pressed for promotion back to the Premier League. He made 50 appearances across all competitions for the Clarets and Blues, but couldn’t help his club earn a promotion as Villa stumbled at the final hurdle in the playoff finals.
With Terry’s departure at the end of the season, Chester was entrusted with the captain’s armband and he has handled the responsibility exceptionally well. The Wales international hasn’t missed a single minute of Championship football this season and has chipped in with a goal as well.
In a defence that has been found wanting in the 2018/19 term, Chester offers Bruce’s team a stable and authoritative presence at the back. In fact, he brings about a solidity that has been lacking since Terry’s exit and Tommy Elphick’s surprise loan move to Hull City.
The Welshman is a good passer of the ball and adds value to the team with his distribution from the back. Meanwhile, his presence in the penalty box on either side is an advantage during set-piece situations.
Chester had attracted interest from Villa’s Championship rivals Stoke City in the summer (h/t BBC) but more clubs are likely to come calling once he enters the final year of his deal at the end of the season. Given how valuable he is to the team, Villa would be foolish to put themselves in such a position where they could lose him on a cut-price deal.
Having recently tied down Grealish on a long-term deal, pulling off a similar coup with Chester will also come out as a huge statement of intent from Villa. And that is why they must do everything in their powers to get Chester to pen a new contract at the earliest.