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Forget it Smith – Aston Villa need not make this 20-year-old Ligue 1 starlet a January priority

Strasbourg's French defender Mohamed Simakan controls the ball during L1 football match between Lorient (FC Lorient ) and Strasbourg (RCSA) at at Le Moustoir Stadium in Lorient, western France on August 23, 2020. (Photo by Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP) (Photo by SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Why Aston Villa need not push too hard for Mohamed Simakan in January

According to claims from Calciomercato via Sport Witness (h/t Birmingham Live), Aston Villa are among a host of clubs chasing highly-rated Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan ahead of the January window.

The 20-year-old had been linked with some of the top clubs in Europe, including Lyon. Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan, in the summer and the potential suitors are expected to pursue the centre-back once again during the mid-season trading period. (Sportwitness h/t Birmingham Live)

Profile

Mohamed Simakan rose through the youth ranks of Marseille before completing his footballing education at Strasbourg. He initially impressed for the club’s reserve side in the lower divisions before establishing himself as a first-team player during the 2019-20 campaign.

Mohamed Simakan
Aston Villa are interested in a January move for Mohamed Simakan (Getty Images)

The 20-year-old made 19 appearances in Ligue 1 last term, including 17 starts, before the season was prematurely terminated due to the Covid-19 crisis. Simakan has picked up from where he signed off in the previous campaign, starting and playing the full ninety minutes in all of Strasbourg’s 8 opening league fixtures so far this season. 

Villa already have enough cover at the back

Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have established themselves as the first-choice centre-backs under Dean Smith this season. Both players have done a commendable job so far, with Aston Villa conceding just 5 goals in 5 league games and managing three clean sheets in the process. 

Those numbers represent a significant improvement for the Villans, who shipped as many as 67 goals en route to their 17th-place finish in the Premier League last season. It goes without saying that Smith’s side have looked far more secure at the back this term and a large fraction of the credit should definitely go to the central defenders.

Monaco toujours chaud pour Mohamed Simakan, l'Atalanta à l'affût !
Simakan (R) has made 33 appearances for Strasbourg in all competitions (Getty Images)

In fact, Mings and Konsa have been so consistent that Kortney Hause has been limited to appearances in the Carabao Cup only. Bjorn Engels, who was among the regular starters at Villa Park in the previous campaign, is yet to make a single appearance this term. 

Suffice to say, Aston Villa already have enough cover and competition for places at the heart of the defence. Having four senior central defenders is certainly more than enough, meaning a potential deal for Mohamed Simakan need not be a top priority for Smith in January. 

Simakan has shown great potential but he’s still quite raw and inexperienced, having made just 33 first-team appearances for Strasbourg. The 20-year-old still has a long way to go in his development before he evolves into a finished article. Hence, he doesn’t really fit the bill as an instant upgrade on any of Villa’s four existing centre-backs.

L'Equipe: Milan in transfer battle with Monaco and Dortmund for France U20 starlet
Source: Getty Images

Verdict

Mohamed Simakan needs to play regular first-team football at this stage of his career to keep progressing in the right direction. That seems unlikely to happen at Aston Villa, who already have more accomplished defenders in their ranks.

With that in mind, the Villans might as well look for some tried and tested options in the market if they are genuinely interested in improving their backline in January.

Glen Kamara joined Rangers from Dundee in January 2019. (Getty Images)

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Lazio defender Luiz Felipe in action. (Getty Images)

Leeds signing their £33m-rated summer target in January would be quite useful for Bielsa