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Aston Villa hoping to sign their £5m summer target in January – A useful addition for Smith?

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - OCTOBER 08: James McCarthy of Ireland runs with the ball during the UEFA EURO 2020 Play-Off Semi-Final match between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland at Tehelne pole on October 08, 2020 in Bratislava, Slovakia. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Why Aston Villa signing James McCarthy would be a smart move

According to Birmingham Live, Aston Villa are hoping to sign James McCarthy from Crystal Palace. McCarthy’s contract ends at the end of this season and can be signed on a free transfer then. He was also linked with a £5million move to Villa during the summer. Celtic also remain interested in their former player and could offer him a pre-contract in January.

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McCarthy, 29, came through the youth ranks of Celtic and Hamilton Academical before joining Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2009. After making 133 appearances in four seasons with the Latics, he was signed by Everton. He was a crucial member of the squad but since the 2017/18 season, the Scotsman has struggled with injuries. He was sold to Crystal Palace last summer.

Last season, he managed to make 33 league appearances after returning from injury. He has also made 42 appearances for the Republic of Ireland so far and has immense experience in English football.

James McCarthy (Image credit: Google)

McCarthy can add experience and depth to Villa

At the moment, Villa have six central midfielders in their ranks. Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba are the defensive midfielders available at the manager’s disposal. Ross Barkley, Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury and John McGinn are the four attack-minded midfielders.

However, during the 2019/20 campaign, Villa lacked experience in the middle of the park during their battle for survival. Bringing in a midfielder of McCarthy’s experience would certainly benefit them. Moreover, Luiz has been linked with a move away from the club and if that happens, Villa’s numbers in midfield would be limited. Thus, they need to bring in a central midfielder in the summer.

Signing McCarthy would be a wise decision by the club. The former Scottish international has made over 400 career appearances and his experience could come in handy for the manager. He may not have played enough during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns but he was a key figure for the Eagles last term.

Crystal Palace’s Scottish-born Irish midfielder James McCarthy (L) passes the ball away from Burnley’s Dutch defender Erik Pieters during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Burnley at Selhurst Park in south London on June 29, 2020. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

His inclusion would definitely bring healthy competition within the squad, whilst also adding some much-needed depth. McCarthy is capable of operating from a deeper role as well as in an advanced position. His presence would be useful for Villa.

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At 30, McCarthy has a few more years left to play at a high level. At the same time, Villa need to bolster their midfield if they are to perform with consistency going forward. The former Wigan Man’s experience would definitely help them in various ways.

Written by Sourav Ghosh

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