Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has been public about his desire to sign a centre-back, with the Midlands outfit lacking depth in defence following Tommy Elphick’s loan move to Hull City.
Smith hinted at bringing Micah Richards back from the cold, recalling Elphick from Hull and signing James Collins on a free transfer, but Football Insider say he wants to sign Brentford’s Yoann Barbet.
The 25-year-old played under Smith when he was in charge of Brentford, so Barbet could be open to renewing acquaintances. He’s been a regular at Griffin Park ever since his 2015-arrival from FC Niort, but the signing could have repercussions in the Villa camp.
The Midlands outfit are in desperate need of defensive recruits in case James Chester or Axel Tuanzebe picks up an injury, as Alan Hutton and Mile Jedinak aren’t natural options at centre-back, but Barbet joining could close the door to three players who may have been hoping to feature after January.
Elphick has been in fine form at Hull this season but may not be recalled if Barbet is signed. Collins has been training with the club through the summer and may not be offered a contract if Smith lands the Frenchman instead.
Barbet is out of contract next summer which could force Brentford to cash in on him in January, raising the possibility of his Villa Park arrival when the winter transfer window opens. Elphick and Collins won’t be happy.
Stats from Transfermarkt.