One of the biggest challenges in seeing Gil back in the Villa side would be his all round contribution.
His diminutive figure still sees him easily labelled as “light-weight” or a “luxury” player.
For all of the neat flicks, there were countless occasions he was simply out-muscled in the Premier League. The Championship is arguably even more combative in nature.
La Liga could certainly not be described as a stern test of physicality either.
The Villa team prior to summer 2016 had little in the way of physical presence. Gil was purchased to be the creative free-spirit within a midfield composed of limited grit; Westwood, Gardner, Grealish & Veretout. Idrissa Gueye? Hardly set the world alight at VP in this blogs view.
Even as recently as February , we saw the drawbacks of shoe-horning of otherwise talented players into unfamiliar roles, with both Lansbury & Hourihane shackled to defence minded roles in the absence of Mile Jedinak.
There are other positives to be had.
Gil was praised for his nulling of Sergio Busquets’ influence against Barcelona, no mean feat. This at least evidences that he has developed in this area of his game to some degree.
Gil currently has 4 in his 14 La Liga appearances this season. Lionel Messi has 7 in 22 appearances, for comparison. The Argentinian does though boast a golden boot leading 23 goals; Gil has none.
Whilst Messi is a different proposition altogether, Gil could surely offer something, if only impact or a technically different substitute?
Albert Adomah perhaps offers a more reasonable benchmark, at least given on the basis of the opposition that Gil might expect to face with Villa should he return next term. Adomah currently has 9 assists from 23 starts this term (+3 goals).
Whilst Adomah is a ‘different’ player, both physically and technically, few would argue that in terms of overall quality, Gil would surely be rated equal or arguably better?
And dare we open a Grealish/Gil discussion?
Would any return impede the progress of Andre Green, or compliment it?
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