Gerrard had a mare at Villa with £26m “machine” trying a “real weapon” at World Cup – opinion


As Aston Villa embark on a brand new period below the stewardship of Unai Emery, you possibly can’t assist however really feel as if he may have benefitted from one in all Steven Gerrard’s mooted switch targets.

Again in November 2021, the Midlands outfit have been linked with a transfer for VfB Stuttgart wing-back Borna Sosa, who was obtainable for round £26m as a result of precarious funds on the German facet.

The 24-year-old from Zagreb nonetheless stays at Die Roten within the Bundesliga and his home kind earned him a spot in Croatia’s squad for the World Cup.

The Vatreni kickstarted their Group F marketing campaign with a 0-0 stalemate towards Morrocco and now face Canada earlier than a probable crunch match with one of many potential match favourites in Belgium.

Regardless of the draw, Sosa was one in all Zlatko Dalic’s shining lights at left wing-back, leaving many round Villa Park pondering what may’ve been.

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The 6 foot 2 dynamo was a relentless menace at each ends of the pitch as he regarded to assist seal a breakthrough and while his efforts weren’t in a position to bear fruits, he definitely caught the attention.

As per FBref, Sosa loved a 100% dribble success fee down the left flank, exhibiting that he was laborious to dispossess and that he typically beat his man resulting from his capacity on the ball.

The Croat additionally registered 4 progressive passes – a feat that was solely topped by veteran Luka Modric and Josko Gvardiol – and a squad-high anticipated assists of 0.5, highlighting his creativity within the ultimate third, regardless of being deployed as a full-back behind Ivan Perisic.

By sitting deeper, his defensive attributes have been referred to as into query at instances, enjoying up towards Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea, however he was strong as an ox, registering three tackles (second-most) and 5 clearances (joint-most).

Sosa was simply one in all two gamers to register an xA above 0.0, which works to point out simply how essential he was to Croatia’s attacking output.

It makes Gerrard’s resolution to not signal him on a budget final 12 months look even worse. While many will likely be pleased with the arrival of Lucas Digne within the function, at 24, the Stuttgart gem seems to be an actual star for the long-term future.

Certainly, the dynamic wing-back has been praised as a “crossing machine” by journalist Ronan Murphy in addition to a “real weapon” by sporting director Sven Mislintat – and never simply that however some have even in contrast him to England nice David Beckham.

Subsequently, the previous Villa boss definitely had a large mare by not bringing Sosa to Villa Park. The dangerman may properly have lots extra to show because the World Cup heads into recreation week two later in the present day.

AND in different information, Emery heading for first switch catastrophe as Villa eye £525k-p/w flop…


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