Aston Villa signing this 20-year-old talented French ace would be a smart long-term coup


Why Aston Villa signing Mohamed Simakan would be a smart coup

Back in November, a report from the Express & Star had mentioned Aston Villa among the potential suitors for highly-rated Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan. The player’s agent revealed that Villa had registered an interest in his client during the summer and could return for the centre-back when the market reopens in January. 

Simakan’s agent also confirmed interest from several clubs like Lyon, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan in the 20-year-old, with the Rossoneri even having a £13m bid rejected for the defender. 


Mohamed Simakan spent time in the academies of Marseille as well as several lower division clubs, including Vivaux Marronniers and Air Bel. He joined Strasbourg’s youth ranks in 2017 and made his professional debut in Ligue 1 last season after signing his first professional contract in May 2018.

The 20-year-old started 17 league games for Strasbourg in 2019-20 before the French top-flight campaign was brought to a premature end by the Covid-19 outbreak. Simakan, though, did enough to earn recognition as one of the most exciting young defensive talents in Ligue 1 and has continued to show impressive progress this term.

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

Simakan has started and played the full 90 minutes in all of Strasbourg’s 13 fixtures in Ligue 1 this season so far, featuring primarily at centre-back whilst also making occasional appearances as a right-back and in a holding midfield role. 

Villa would benefit from Simakan’s potential

Aston Villa made a stunning start to the 2020-21 campaign after narrowly staving off relegation last term but three defeats in their last four league games have brought the Villans crashing down to the earth.

The Midlands club look pretty much well-stocked in most departments following some heavy recruitment in recent transfer windows. However, there are still a few areas that can do with some investment. While a new central midfielder and a striker should be high on the club’s agenda, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add some fresh faces at the back.

Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have been the first-choice central defenders for Villa in the Premier League this season, with both players doing a commendable job. Kortney Hause is yet to feature in the PL in the ongoing campaign.

Bjorn Engels, meanwhile, has been completely frozen out of the mix by the manager and there were even rumours in the summer that Villa were willing to cash in on the Belgian.  

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Marseille’s Argentine forward Dario Benedetto (L) fights for the ball with Strasbourg’s French defender Mohamed Simakan (R) during the French L1 football match between Olympique de Marseille (OM) and Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace (RCS) on October 20, 2019, at the Velodrome Stadium in Marseille, southern France. (Getty Images)

Putting things into context, Aston Villa must look to ensure better competition for places at centre-back and the inclusion of a promising youngster like Mohamed Simakan would certainly hand a considerable boost to the club’s long-term plans moving forward.

The French U-20 starlet has shown great potential at Strasbourg in his homeland and while he’s hardly the finished article just yet, Simakan would provide healthy competition at Villa, while developing playing with full internationals like Mings and Jack Grealish.

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That Simakan has attracted interest from some top clubs in Europe clearly underlines his ability to shine at the highest level. He might not be capable of starting week in, week out, in a league as competitive as the Premier League just yet, but Aston Villa have every reason to look at him as an excellent long-term investment. 

Wesley Fofana, a young player in a mould similar to Simakan, has quickly established himself as a key player for Leicester following his move from the French top-flight this past summer. Simakan looks more than ready to emulate the success of his compatriot on English soil and with his best years still very much ahead of him, Villa shouldn’t hesitate to take a punt on the Strasbourg starlet.