Go for it Smith – Aston Villa signing this proven 29-year-old French star would be a smart move


Why Aston Villa signing Clement Grenier would be a smart coup

Back in September, reputed journalist Manu Lonjon (h/t Birmingham Live) claimed that Aston Villa had been in talks with French club Stade Rennes over a potential deal for Clement Grenier. Porto, Galatasaray and Real Valladolid were also understood to be interested in securing the midfielder’s services but he eventually ended up staying put at Roazhon Park. 


A youth exponent of Lyon, Clement Grenier made his Ligue 1 debut during the 2009-10 campaign. He went on to spend nine full seasons at the club, accumulating 18 goals and 28 assists in 154 appearances across all competitions.

The midfielder had a brief loan spell at Roma towards the end of his time at Lyon but he ended up joining Guingamp on a permanent transfer in January 2018 after struggling for game time at the Italian capital.

Grenier spent only six months at Guingamp before switching boats to join Rennes in the summer following the club’s relegation to the second tier. The 29-year-old has since made 71 appearances for Rennes in all competitions, amassing 5 goals and 9 assists in the process.

The former France international had been a key squad player for the club over the past two seasons but has found himself down the pecking order this term, with his contract set to expire next summer. 

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Chelsea’s French midfielder N’Golo Kante (L) fights for the ball with Rennes’ French midfielder Clement Grenier during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Stade Rennais FC and Chelsea FC at the Roazhon Park stadium in Rennes, western France, on November 24, 2020. (Getty Images)

Grenier would be a quality addition to Villa’s midfield

Aston Villa are pretty well-stocked in the midfield department, especially after the acquisition of Ross Barkley on loan from Chelsea. The England international has proven himself to be a fantastic signing for the Villans, working in tandem with Jack Grealish to enhance creativity in the final third. 

John McGinn and Douglas Luiz have been the regular starters for Dean Smith’s side in central midfield with Marvelous Nakamba, Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane also competing for places. Smith has accommodated Hourihane in the side whenever he has switched to a three-man midfield, but Nakamba and Lansbury have had very little game time this season.

With that in mind, Villa might as well look to replace the underachievers with some quality players in abid to ensure better competition for places in the middle. And reigniting interest in Clement Grenier would definitely be a step in the right direction.

A veteran of close to 250 club career appearances, Grenier certainly has the experience and the knowhow to come through the door at Villa Park as an instant upgrade on some of the club’s existing midfield options. The Frenchman has the ability to chip in with goals and assists from a deep-lying role while also boasting the versatility to operate as a No.10.

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Lyon’s French midfielder Maxence Caqueret (R) fights for the ball with Rennes French midfielder Clement Grenier (L) during the French L1 football match between Olympique Lyonnais and Stade Rennais Football Club at the Groupama stadium in Decines-Charpieu near Lyon, central-eastern France on December 15, 2019. (Getty Images)

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It’s clear from the above discussion that Clement Grenier ticks all boxes to improve Aston Villa’s midfield. The Frenchman’s potential availability for a knockdown price in January presents an excellent market opportunity for the Villans to add some real depth and quality to their squad.

Grenier would be well worth a punt for Dean Smith, considering that the midfielder still has a lot to offer at just 29.