No Bailey or Carlos & “phenom” lined up in Aston Villa’s dream XI after January

Aston Villa supporters have certainly endured an interesting journey over the last decade or so, witnessing the drama of relegation, promotion and the battle for survival, to now being genuine title contenders in the Premier League.

The days under Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde and Steve Bruce et al all seem so long ago such is the success that current boss Unai Emery is enjoying at the helm, the Spaniard steering his side into Europe last term, before kicking on again this time around.

With Champions League qualification a very real possibility come the end of the season, the Villans can not rest on their laurels despite the stunning strides that have been made of late, with the Midlands side wise to push for quality reinforcements before the window closes later this month.

Strengthening at full-back, in particular, appears to be a real priority for Emery and co, while further attacking additions can also not be ruled out, with there potentially set to be a different look to the club’s starting XI come the end of January, if a handful of deals are to be done…

1
GK – Emi Martinez

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While there has been reported interest in the World Cup winner in recent times, Villa are highly unlikely to sanction the sale of their first-choice stopper midway through the campaign, with the Argentine still an integral figure having kept five clean sheets in the league so far.

2
RB – Jeremie Frimpong

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The first new addition could well arrive at right-back in the form of Jeremie Frimpong, with journalist Dean Jones revealing that the Bayer Leverkusen star is a “genuine” target for the high-flying outfit.

With 17 goals and assists to his name this season in all competitions, the Dutchman would be a fine replacement for Matty Cash in that wide berth, with the latter man having even lost his place to usual centre-back Ezri Konsa on occasion this season.

3
CB – Ezri Konsa

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Speaking of Konsa, the Englishman would seemingly slot back in at centre-back if Frimpong was to be signed, with the former Brentford man deserving of the nod ahead of Diego Carlos, having been “so consistent” in recent years – according to former Villa man, John Terry.

Now on Gareth Southgate’s radar at international level, having earned a first Three Lions call-up in November, the 26-year-old is truly flourishing under the Emery regime.

4
CB – Pau Torres

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While Clement Lenglet has proven an able deputy of late, it is Pau Torres who is the undisputed first-choice option at left centre-back, having been prised from Emery’s former club Villarreal on a £33m deal over the summer.

Described as “absolutely magnificent” by pundit Pat Nevin following the win over champions Manchester City last month, the Spaniard has been a key cog in a defence that has shipped just 27 league goals – the fourth-best record in the division.

5
LB – Marcus Acuna

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As per The Athletic, alongside looking at Frimpong, the Villans also have their eye on Sevilla full-back, Marcus Acuna, with the 32-year-old having been part of the Argentina squad – alongside Martinez – that claimed World Cup glory in Qatar.

With reports suggesting Lucas Digne could be on his way, amid Saudi interest, Acuna could represent a perfect rival for Alex Moreno on the left flank, having been hailed as a “top defender” by City boss, Pep Guardiola last year.

6
CM – Douglas Luiz

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While the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona are said to be circling for his signature at present, it is unlikely that the Brazilian will be on the move this month, ensuring he can continue his fine season in claret and blue – having registered 13 goals and assists in all competitions.

A key cog in Emery’s relentless machine, the 25-year-old is set to command a sizeable fee if he is to later depart at the end of the season, with an £80m price tag having previously been suggested.

7
CM – Boubacar Kamara

Aston Villa's Boubacar Kamara

The former Marseille man – who was snapped up on a free transfer in 2022 – has missed just four league games this season, all through suspension, with the remaining 17 appearances all coming from the start, highlighting his importance in the spine of the side.

8
RM – Moussa Diaby

Moussa Diaby

Despite lining up as a second striker in recent times, Moussa Diaby could be relocated onto the right flank once again in order to revive his sparkling connection with ex-teammate Frimpong – having scored 14 goals and registered 11 assists in all competitions for Leverkusen last term.

The possibility to utilise that blossoming partnership could then see Leon Bailey ousted from the starting lineup, even though the Jamaican star does have nine goals and eight assists to his name across all fronts this term.

9
LM – John McGinn

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Villa’s super skipper is a nailed-on starter under Emery on the left flank, impressively leading from the front with seven goals and four assists in 2023/24.

While pressure will be applied to his position in the years to come amid the presence of Jacob Ramsey and Nicolo Zaniolo, for now, the Scotsman remains the club’s ‘Mr Reliable’.

10
ST – Ollie Watkins

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While McGinn may be thriving as captain, it is Ollie Watkins who is Emery’s undoubted talisman these days, having already registered 24 goal involvements this season – 19 of which have come in the top-flight.

A return of just one goal from his last seven league games has somewhat halted the Englishman’s momentum, although as his brace of assists against Burnley showcased, there is so much more to Watkins’ game than merely putting the ball in the back of the net.

11
ST – Jonathan David

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The final dream addition would be that of Lille sensation, Jonathan David, with Villa said to be rivalling Manchester United for the signing of the Canadian “phenom” this month – as described by podcaster Tony Marinaro.

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Valued at around €50m (£43m), according to CIES Football Observatory, the 24-year-old is hot property having bagged 69 goals in 161 games during his time in France, ensuring he could be the man to ease the goalscoring burden on Watkins.

Aston Villa’s dream starting lineup in full: GK – Martinez; RB – Frimpong, CB – Konsa, CB – Torres, LB – Acuna; CM – Luiz, CM – Kamara, RM – Diaby, LM – McGinn; ST – Watkins, St – David

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