With Aston Villa stepping up in their pursuit for a holding midfielder this summer, Swansea’s Ki Sung-Yueng is emerging as the latest potential signing for the club.
As want-away owner Randy Lerner continues to search for possible buyers of the club, Villa’s previous three summer signings have all been low-cost veteran options, with Paul Lambert bringing in Philippe Senderos and Joe Cole on a pair of frees, and Fulham’s Kieran Richardson for an undisclosed fee.
While those three names have all underwhelmed fans of the cash stricken club, the potential addition of Ki is a legitimately attractive proposition, as a player who has impressed for large spells during his two Premier League seasons.
Originally signing for Celtic in August 2009, the 25-year-old spent three seasons in Scotland before earning a £6 million move to Swansea in 2012, appearing in 29 games during the 2012-13 Premier League campaign.
Finding himself surplus to requirements however after the additions of Jonjo Shelvey and Jose Canas the following summer, Ki eventually joined Sunderland on a season-long loan, where he featured in 27 matches until succumbing to a knee issue in April, as the club managed to stave off relegation in dramatic fashion.
With a year left on his Swansea contract, manager Gary Monk is now looking to offload the South Korean international and Villa could well prove the ideal landing spot should he want to attain regular Premier League minutes.
As recently-departed Frenchman Yacouba Sylla floundered last season, Villa were forced to use Ashely Westwood in the holding role, where his talents where largely wasted, but the potential signing of Ki would free the former Crewe Alexandra prospect up to feature alongside Fabian Delph further up the pitch.
That would also allow Delph to assume more of an attacking role in the lineup, where he was at his best during his breakout 2013-14, standing out as one of the few bright spots of an otherwise disappointing campaign for Villa.
With Karim El Ahmadi rotating in and out, the midfield trio of Ki-Westwood-Delph would look much more encouraging on paper, as the club attempt to ensure that 2014-15 is not a fourth consecutive relegation-threatened season for the troubled side.
|Team||Pos||Total Att Assist / apps||Won Tackle / apps||Duel Won / apps||Interception / apps||Total Pass / apps||Pass %||Unsuccessful Touch / apps||Ball Recovery / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Ashley Westwood||Aston Villa||MF||1.86||1.14||2.63||1.37||46.51||82.86||0.51||6.34||35||3,081|
|Fabian Delph||Aston Villa||MF||0.82||2.24||7.38||1.71||46.65||83.61||1.12||6.79||34||3,003|
|Karim El Ahmadi||Aston Villa||MF||0.61||2.61||4.16||0.81||23.19||81.92||0.97||2.84||31||2,187|
With 60 international caps since his 2008 debut, Ki started all three games for South Korea at the World Cup in Brazil and, with a possible £3 million price tag, represents a fresh approach for Villa in this summer’s transfer market, which should instil fans with some hope that their prospects for the upcoming campaign are not as bad as first feared.
Lambert’s side still need to add to their thin and inexperienced squad, but this move would at least be a step in the right direction compared to previous underwhelming arrivals.