Villa have announced the signing of Emi Martinez from Arsenal today, following on from adding Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins to the squad ahead of the season opener against Sheffield United.
The good news keeps on coming, following on from the annoucement of Jack Grealish’s new contract, Villa went on to beat Burton (1-3) in the 2nd round of the Carabao Cup, with the captain leading the charge.
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With Villa still chasing a number of transfer targets, Villa remain heavily linked with Brentford left back Rico Henry.
The 23 year old right back caught the eye early in his career, breaking through as an 18 year old whilst Villa boss Smith was in charge at Walsall.
Back in 2015, Smith made a bold comparison regarding Henry’s potential:
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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.Dean Smith – 2015 – Express
The defender has always been highly regarded and followed Smith to Brentford where his development, whilst punctuated by injury, has continued.
Indeed, the only blot was a serious knee injury suffered in 2017 that kept Henry out for over a year.
That aside, he certainly impressed in a Brentford side that narrowly missed out on promotion last term.
Henry cost The Bees just £1.5m when he joined and it’s unclear what valuation the London based side would demand.
For Villa, it would represent another progressive move for an up and coming young player. Whilst the step up to the top flight is certainly a big one, Henry is courted by a number of sides including West Ham, Brighton and Leeds.
The left back has also been watched by more established sides in the Premier League, with a source confirming to the Villa Underground that the player was invited to tour Spurs’ training facilities prior to suffering injury. Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool have also historically retained a watching brief on Henry’s development.
Whilst it remains to be seen on whether Villa can prize another of Brentford’s assets away (not forgetting Benrahma…), any such addition would inject both youth and competition to a position held by either Matt Targett or Neil Taylor.
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