‘Big blow’: Agbonlahor urges Emery to act after Aston Villa decision this summer

Agbonlahor feels Aston Villa transfer decision was ‘big blow’ for Emery

Gabby Agbonlahor has urged Unai Emery to act in the transfer window and sign a new right-back to push Matty Cash after the ‘big blow’ of Ashley Young leaving Aston Villa.

The Villans confirmed at the end of May that the Birmingham natives were not giving Young a new contract. He featured heavily in Emery’s plans after the Spaniard took over their helm last November. But Aston Villa did not believe retaining the 37-year-old was the right choice.

Young featured 32 times across all competitions during the 2022/23 season and offered one goal. The versatile veteran amassed 22 of his appearances under Emery, including starting in 16 Premier League games. He only watched five of Emery’s top-flight fixtures on their bench

Matty Cash struggled to stay ahead of Ashley Young under Unai Emery

 

Emery often held a clear preference for starting Young ahead of Cash after replacing Steven Gerrard as Aston Villa’s manager. Cash only played 15 games in the Premier League with the Spaniard at the helm and started in 10. But a calf injury further counted toward his situation.

Cash missed eight league games with the problem sustained during the March international break whilst on Poland duty. He had regained the starting role from Young before heading to the Czech Republic for a Euro 2024 qualifier. But the issue gave Young another run in the XI.

Gabby Agbonlahor urges Aston Villa to now target a right-back transfer

Young leaving Aston Villa for free at the end of his contract on June 30 leaves a huge void in Emery’s squad that Agbonlahor believes they must now fill in the summer transfer window. The former Villans captain is adamant his old side must sign someone to keep Cash honest.

“I think they need a right-back,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT. “Losing Ashley Young was a big blow. Someone to put pressure on Matty Cash [and have] competition for places.”

Cash is the only recognised right-back in Emery’s squad after Aston Villa decided to release Young this summer. Ezri Konsa and Calum Chambers can play the position if it is needed but are both natural centre-backs. While those in Aston Villa’s academy sides are still unproven.

Kaine Kesler-Hayden may have felt he was the first in line for a promotion to the first-team if Emery looked from within Aston Villa’s ranks. The 20-year-old made his senior Villans debut against Liverpool in January 2021. But he has now left Villa Park again for another loan deal.

 

The Birmingham-born gem has had loan spells at Swindon Town, MK Dons and Huddersfield Town since his Aston Villa debut. But he returned to Villa Park in January after 15 games for the Terriers. He has also just signed for Plymouth Argyle for the 2023/24 season this Friday.

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