Aston Villa boss Dean Smith managed to finally sign one of his former Brentford starts in Ollie Watkins this summer, but there’s another name that he will surely be gutted to miss out on…
What was the word?
Back in September, The Sun reported that the Midlands outfit were eyeing a late move for Bees defender Rico Henry ahead of the summer deadline along with several other Premier League teams.
Other claims suggested that the Championship outfit were looking for bids in the region of £10m, though evidently nothing came to fruition as he’s still in west London to this day.
West Brom and West Ham were two other teams with a noted interest in the young left-back.
Another one that got away?
During Villa’s first summer window as a Premier League club, Smith tried to raid his former club for impressive attacker Neal Maupay but he was not happy with their demands and subsequently pulled out of the race.
The 24-year-old then signed for Brighton in a £16m deal and made his former boss pay, scoring 14 goals in just 46 appearances, which is more than what either Wesley or Mbwana Samatta has managed tenfold.
This same scenario could eventually happen with Henry, especially as he continues to deliver in the Championship. This season, the 23-year-old has contributed to two goals whilst averaging 1.3 tackles, 1.2 clearances, 1.1 interceptions and 0.8 key passes per game, via WhoScored.
Pretty solid numbers that would only improve under the right guidance, and of course, Smith knows him more than anyone having also managed him at Walsall.
Back in 2015, the Villa boss compared Henry to Chelsea great Ashley Cole, he told the BBC:
“He fully deserves the award as he’s been excellent. If I were to liken him to anyone it would be a young Ashley Cole. And it’s up to him how far he can now go in the game. That’s probably me being a little bit biased because I know the kid and what he has to offer. He’s got a great desire and a will to win. His attitude and application to everything he does is spot on.”
On that basis, the “fearless” dynamo would’ve been the perfect complement to Villa’s left-flank. He and Grealish would genuinely frighten some of the big Premier League contenders for years to come.
Smith got it badly wrong this summer, so perhaps he should look to make amends in January.
AND in other news, Villa’s “unreal” dynamo vindicated Dean Smith’s brave faith vs Arsenal…
The post Dean Smith must rue failed Aston Villa swoop for Rico Henry first appeared on FootballFanCast.com.