If Villa fans needed a further reminder of what Christian Purslow meant when he referred to a policy of “opportunism” recruitment, then the signing of Boubacar Kamara is it.
Following deals to secure Philippe Coutinho and the likes of Callum Chambers that few could have predicted, Kamara arrives at Villa Park on a 5 year contract.
The French midfielder, out of contract with Ligue 1 side Marseille, is regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in European football. To the surprise of many and having been courted by a host of sides across the continent (incl. Atletic Madrid and Bayern Munich), Kamara has opted to link up with Villa.
At just 22, the former centre-half, converted to a holding midfielder, has graduated through the French-U21 set-up and has recently been called up to the senior squad. Despite his relative youth, Kamara has over 100 appearances to his name, including having reached the Europa Conference semi finals and ranked 1st for passing in Lique 1 last term.
For Villa, the need to strengthen in the holding midfield position has been glaring. Douglas Luiz has looked ill-equipped in this unfamiliar role and suffered for it too, with the Brazilians form and stock with fans taking a serious hit. And although Marvelous Nakamba demonstrated his disruptiveness in the early part of Gerrard’s tenure, we cannot overlook the reality of his obvious footballing limitations.
Kamara is therefore another important piece in the puzzle as Villa look to improve upon a woeful 14th place finish in the Premier League in 2021/22. Indeed, overdue “continuous improvement” is now the mimimum expectation of Gerrard, Lange and Purslow as ambitious owners watch on as the squad assembles. This is arguably one of the clubs most important signings to date.
For supporters, reeling after an indifferent season and against the backdrop of a signficant hike in ticket prices, tangible improvement cannot come soon enough either. Given the grand statements of intent and recurring expenditure by Villa, it all falls flat when you play so poorly and finish below Brighton, Brentford and Palace.
Kamara is the latest welcome addition, in a position crying out for quality if we are to make any sustained progress in the division. He comes with big fanfare, big potential, which we are desperate to see come to fruition at Villa Park.
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