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Aston Villa interested in 25-year-old Championship ace – Would he be a good addition for Smith?

Why Aston Villa must plot a summer swoop for Millwall’s Jake Cooper

According to Football Insider (h/t The Birmingham Mail), Aston Villa are interested in signing Millwall centre-back Jake Cooper during the summer transfer window.

Jake Cooper, 25, has impressed for Millwall since his arrival from Reading in 2017. He has made over 100 appearances for Millwall, with the former England youth international featuring 37 times this campaign. The defender also has a goal to his name this season, scoring in a 2-1 win away to Bristol City back in December.

The report (h/t The Birmingham Mail) adds that Dean Smith is keen to bring Cooper to Villa Park even if they don’t avoid relegation.

Despite signing more than a dozen players in the last two transfer windows, it hasn’t been a good season for Aston Villa in the top-flight. They have royally struggled to cope with the demands of Premier League football, with Smith’s side currently just a point above the relegation zone in 17th position.

Millwall defender Jake Cooper celebrates after scoring. (Getty Images)
Millwall defender Jake Cooper celebrates after scoring. (Getty Images)

The Villans’ interest in Cooper ahead of the summer transfer window does make a lot of sense. The Birmingham-based club, regardless of signing Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause on a permanent basis and bringing Ezri Konsa and Bjorn Engels from Brentford and Reims respectively, has the worst defensive record in the division. They have leaked a whopping 52 goals in 27 games and are on a 3-game losing streak.

Mings has been a reliable performer at the back for Villa, appearing 22 times in the top-flight. However, he has lacked a reliable partner alongside him, with none among Engels, Hause and Konsa doing enough to nail down a place in Smith’s starting XI.

Cooper, on the other hand, has played every single minute of Millwall’s current league campaign, just like he did last season. The Englishman has proven himself to be a reliable and highly committed presence at the heart of Millwall’s backline during the last two Championship seasons.

Considering Aston Villa’s long-standing defensive problems this season, Smith should definitely sign a new centre-back in the summer. Having proven himself in the Championship, Cooper, at 25, is perhaps at the right age to make the step up to the Premier League.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith all smiles after he guided the club to promotion. (Getty Images)
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith all smiles after he guided the club to promotion. (Getty Images)

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Verdict

Irrespective of what Villa’s status is next season, they must not allow a talent like Cooper get away from their hands and must do everything possible to sign the 25-year-old from Millwall in the summer.

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