The 31 year old defender, widely praised for his role in the improved fortunes at Hull, is expected to go straight back into the team.
What is less straightforward is how Dean Smith will utilise the former Championship winning Captain.
The logical step is that Elphick will immediately enter the starting eleven to give Villa only our second genuine centre half. However, with James Chester still carrying a troublesome knock [knee] sustained whilst away on international duty, there could even be some enforced rotation.
More preferably though, is that Elphick will slot in alongside Chester, enabling James Bree to relieve the chronically out of form Ahmed Elmohamady from right back duties.
England youth international double winner Easah Suliman has also returned unexpectedly to Villa Park after a loan to Dutch side FC Emmen was terminated.
Whilst there have been clamours in certain quarters for players of Suliman’s ilk to be hastily promoted to the Villa first team, especially given our lack of central defensive cover, a lack of senior playing experience remains a barrier.
Suliman is undoubtedly a potential talent, but competitive first team football at a lower level remains the obvious necessary route.
News from The Netherlands is that Villa’s decision to recall Suliman rests upon his lack of game-time, rather than any immediate consideration for the first team. Therefore, we might reasonably expect the 20 year old loaned out again when the January window re-opens.
Out of favour Levante holding midfielder Cheick Doukoure has been linked with a move to B6.
Villa are likely considering options, with Birkir Bjarnason’s form and fitness erratic, Glenn Whelan unable to do a full 90 minutes and Hourihane better deployed further up the pitch. Any move for the former Metz and Lorient player would also raise question marks against the futures of both Mile Jedinak and Henri Lansbury.
- 26 years old.
- Villa to battle interest from Real Vallecano.
- Full international: Ivory Coast.
- Just 2 appearances in La Liga this term.
- Estimated fee: £3.2m
- Source: Daily Mirror.
The joint Championship goalscorer with 15 also has 6 assists to his name this season.
The 22 year old, who has represented France at every grade at international level, has hinted strongly at a desire to link up with Dean Smith.
I have a really, really good relationship with Dean. So obviously if one day he calls me and says ‘Neal, I need you in my team’ I would consider it.
Maupay is arguably a ‘marmite’ footballer for those with an interest in Championship football.
Whilst the attacking midfielders prowess in front of goal has caught the eye, there have also been a number of unsavoury on-field incidents that include unsporting behaviour, diving and stamp on John McGinn when Villa faced Brentford. For the McGinn incident, Maupay received a retrospective 3 match ban.
Whilst the Smith factor would be an advantageous lure for the ambitious Frenchman, Villa could expect competition for the signature of one of the leagues stand-out players.
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