Why Aston Villa offloading Frederic Guilbert wouldn’t be a smart move
The Villans are also trying to find potential suitors for winger Anwar El Ghazi and Henri Lansbury as Dean Smith looks to trim down his squad in a bid to reduce the wage bills. (Football Insider h/t Birmingham Live)
It has been claimed that Guilbert is willing to stay at Villa Park and fight it out with new signing Matty Cash for a place in the starting XI but the Frenchman could still be offloaded.
Frederic Guilbert started his career with Caen’s reserve side and also featured for AS Cherbourg in the lower divisions before earning a move to Bordeaux. The right-back initially made his mark for Bordeaux’s reserve side and went on to make 46 appearances for the first-team across two seasons.
The 25-year-old returned to Caen, initially on loan, before completing a permanent transfer to his boyhood club in the summer of 2017. It was at Caen that Guilbert established himself as one of the best young full-backs in the French top-flight, registering over 100 appearances for the club in all competitions.
Guilbert was snapped up by Aston Villa in January 2019 and he stayed at Caen until the end of the 2018-19 season before joining Dean Smith’s side following their promotion to the top-flight last summer. The former France U-21 international featured as the club’s first-choice right-back in the previous campaign, scoring twice in 29 appearances as the Villans narrowly beat the drop.
Villa still need Guilbert to play a part
Aston Villa enjoyed a productive summer window with Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traore, Matty Cash, and Emiliano Martinez all coming through the door as permanent signings. The acquisition of Ross Barkley on a season-long loan deal from Chelsea was perhaps the icing on the cake as the Villans successfully bolstered several areas of their squad.
The club’s recruitment team have also worked hard to shift those players who don’t feature in the manager’s plans. This is evident from the release of Jota and Orjan Nyland, and the sale of flop striker Mbwana Samatta to Fenerbahce. However, cashing in on Frederic Guilbert might not be the smartest idea despite new signing Matty Cash usurping the Frenchman in the pecking order.
Cash has certainly caught the eye as an attacking full-back during Villa’s spectacular start to the 2020-21 campaign. He has started all of the club’s three opening PL fixtures so far. Guilbert has only played in two League Cup games and hasn’t even featured in the matchday squads for the league fixtures, with Smith preferring Ahmed Elmohamady as Cash’s understudy.
Truth be told, Guilbert enjoyed a decent debut season at Villa Park last term and his demotion to third-choice in the club’s right-back pecking order doesn’t seem justified. Elmohamady is certainly more experienced but at 33, the Egyptian is well past his prime. Villa should, therefore, look to use Guilbert as the designated back-up to Cash in that department.
The 25-year-old hasn’t had a big part to play just yet but that doesn’t mean he won’t be in the mix moving forward, considering the hectic schedule of a 38-game season in the PL.
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While having three right-backs in the squad isn’t necessary, Frederic Guilbert is not the player they should ideally look to offload. Elmohamady is nearing his twilight at 33 and it would probably be better for the club’s long-term plans to cash in on the Egyptian and keep the Frenchman on their books.
Guilbert ticks the box as quality cover and competition for Cash at right-back and with his best years still ahead of him, Villa should definitely look to extract the best out of the player.