Could Ashley Young Be Our New Number 7?

Over the last couple of months, media outlets such as The Daily Mail and The Sun have been constantly hyping up a move to Old Trafford for Aston Villa’s talented winger Ashley Young.

Given his performances over the last couple of years in which despite being only 25 he has become one of Villa’s most ‘senior’ players, so to speak it’s no wonder why Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t be interested in him.

As a dynamic midfielder, Young ticks all the right boxes. He has a great attitude on the pitch, has pace to burn and whilst being a demon set-piece taker has the ability to score all types of goals. Not only is he dangerous out on the wing but he has the ability to play well in the centre of midfield where he has played alot this season.

One of the reasons why Aston Villa really kicked on as a club under Martin O’Neil was undoubtedly because of the quality they had on the wing where Young and James Milner (now famously not a first choice for Manchester City) were causing clubs all kinds of problems.

Whether it was out on the wings or running through in the centre both Young and Milner were quickly improving their games and between them they were scoring vital goals as well as setting them up on a regular basis.

Despite Villa having a disappointing season by their usual standards, which has seen them go through three managers – four if you include O’Neil who left five days before the season started – Young has had a good year, scoring 9 goals overall.

In the Premiership he’s set up 11 goals with the majority of those coming from his accurate crosses which have quickly become a trademark of his. His form over the last season or so has caught the eye of England manager Fabio Capello who has earmarked Young as a player who has a great future with the national team.

Speaking to the Press Association after England’s draw with Ghana last month, Capello spoke about how Young as well as being a danger out wide is as dangerous in the centre. “In this position he is free,” said Capello. “His movement on the pitch is really good at all times. He is a danger when he receives the ball because technically, his vision on the pitch is excellent.”

Vision is a very important word for footballers and something that Ashley has in abundance and is part of his natural game. It’s rumoured that we could probably get him from Villa for £25m and that he would be open to a move, what with the fact that at 25 and given his talent he’s a player who should be playing European football every year – which we would be able to provide him at Old Trafford as well as the chance of winning trophies.

At Villa of course, despite being around some top players in Brad Friedel, Stewart Downing, Darren Bent and the aforementioned Agbonlahor, the chances are that it will be harder for Villa to win trophies as other rival clubs grow bigger year upon year. That’s not to say that they can’t do well in the Cup competitions and get back into Europe, it’s just it will be harder for them to do so.

I think Ashley would easily slot in at us and be a great signing. Despite us already having some top midfielders at our club, we always have to improve and if there’s a good player to be signed who we believe can do the business at us, we have to go and get him. 

Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested in Young as well as several other good players as Kenny Dalglish looks to return our rivals back into a side capable of challenging for the league.

That’s something of course we hope doesn’t happen for a long time yet, but should Ashley go to Anfield, there’s no doubt people would be comparing him to John Barnes, who like Young also started his career at Watford.

Sir Alex had the chance to sign Barnes famously in 1987 but decided to decline to sign Barnes who would go onto be a key part in Liverpool’s successful side of that era. I am not suggesting that if Young were to go to Merseyside that it would be to the detriment of our side, but given his talent I hope he’s a player that we can buy this summer.

Just think how much he would learn by playing alongside Ryan Giggs for a year and that he would become an even better player by being at our club. You can guarantee that our strike force would love to feed of his crosses and that with Giggsy possibly retiring next season, Young would be the ideal person to take over from his aura and become the creative juices in our midfield.

His energy, hunger and versatility make him a player that all the top sides in Europe should be looking at to sign. And with it looking like Michael Owen might be moving on in the summer, Young would be the perfect person to take hold of that historic number 7 shirt that’s become one of the most famous shirts in football.

By Adam Dennehey – @ADennehey87