Mike van der Hoorn would be the ideal solution to Villa’s defensive woes
According to an earlier report from the Sun, Aston Villa were interested in signing Swansea City centre-back Mike van den Hoorn before the transfer deadline but the Lions were reluctant to stump up a staggering £10 million for the Dutchman.
However, Villa are likely to go all out for the 26-year-old in the summer, with the Dutchman set to be available for free upon the expiry of his current contract. Dean Smith’s side struck a deal with Swansea for midfielder Tom Carroll before the transfer deadline but they should make Mike van der Hoorn their top priority in the summer.
A youth product of Dutch club FC Utrecht, Mike van der Hoorn starred for his boyhood club in the Eredivisie, winning the club’s Player of the Season award for the 2012-13 campaign. After helping Utrecht qualify for the Europa League, the Dutchman won the Eredivisie title with Ajax in his debut season at the club. He didn’t really make his mark in the first team due to stiff competition for places and a move to Swansea City in 2016 resurrected his career.
Van der Hoorn has been a regular at the heart of the defence for the Wales-based outfit in the Championship this term, starting each of the club’s 30 games in the second tier. The former Dutch U21 international has established himself as one of the most solid central defenders in the Championship and a move to promotion hopefuls Aston Villa next summer would help him take his career to the next level.
Standing at 6ft 3in with a towering frame, Van der Hoorn is known for his physicality and aerial prowess as a centre-back. To add to that, he has an extremely calm and composed head on his shoulders, with figures showing that he has been dribbled past only 9 times in the Championship this season.
He is the sort of defender who likes to keep the opposition at bay with his positioning while clearing his lines when deployed in a deep defensive line. Furthermore, he has shown that he is quite adept at playing out from the back, which is certainly an added bonus for the team.
To put things into perspective, he would be a welcome addition to Aston Villa’s squad in the summer irrespective of whether they manage to secure promotion. The Lions currently sit 8th in the standings, just three points behind Bristol City for the final promotion playoff spot.
The defence has been one of the major areas of concern at Villa Park this season. Dean Smith has done a fair job after taking over the reins from Steve Bruce but he hasn’t been able to stem the flow of goals. James Chester has been too inconsistent at the back while Axel Tuanzebe has also blown hot and cold.
Tommy Elphick has been called upon at times while Mile Jedinak has also been in the mix but neither of them have been able to provide that solidity to the backline.
The defenders have not only been caught out of position several times but they have been sloppy in possession as well, allowing the opposition to capitalise on lapses in concentration. Mike van der Hoorn, on the other hand, has had a wonderful season so far and he might turn out to be the perfect man to answer Villa’s prayers. That said, they should go all out to land him next summer.