The versatile Dutchman has committed his future to the claret and blues until 2020.
Bacuna, who turns 24 tomorrow, first joined Villa from FC Groningen in June 2013 for a fee in the region of £1.5 million, having impressed on the wing for the Eredivisie outfit.
The former Netherlands Under-21 international went on to score five times in 38 games during his first season in England, when former manager Paul Lambert also began experimenting with him at right-back.
Nevertheless, despite finishing his debut campaign as the club’s second-highest scorer, the versatile Dutchman found himself out of favour over the first half of last term – making just seven Premier League cameos for a total of 184 minutes.
His lack of action left him considering his future at Villa Park the winter but his fortunes would soon change with the arrival of new boss Tim Sherwood, as the makeshift full-back took advantage of Alan Hutton’s suspension to seize a spot in the line-up and start 11 of the final 13 games of the season.
|2014-15 Premier League||Position||Team||Goals||Assists||Total Key Passes||Passing Accuracy||Total Crosses MINS||Crossing Accuracy||Total Tackles MINS||Total Clearances MINS||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Leandro Bacuna||DF||Aston Villa||0||5||17||79%||14.43||27%||39.24||54.5||19||981|
|Alan Hutton||DF||Aston Villa||1||0||23||77%||22.38||27%||49.33||23.7||30||2,417|
Recording five assists over that period, as well as making big strides forward in his defensive work, Bacuna has since started the first two games of this season at the position, while Sherwood himself has suggested that his switch to the backline could become permanent.
Speaking ahead of last week’s 1-0 home defeat to Manchester United, the Villa boss told AVTV: “He’s not really played right-back much until last season when I came in but I think he’s cut out for that position.
“I think he can play on the right side of midfield also but he’s learning [at right-back] as he goes and he’s willing to learn.
“He’s still a young man, developing in his game, and I’m sure he will improve there.”
It’s clear that Sherwood has faith in Bacuna after getting him to commit his future to Villa until 2020, but supporters on the other hand still seem split over his value to the squad.
Here’s a sampling of how the claret and blue faithful reacted on Twitter to news of his new contract...
Some people are too negative. Bacuna's class. Much better then Hutton on the ball. #avfc— L4 Villa (@L4Holte) August 20, 2015
A little surprised at Bacuna's long term contract. He's squad cover quality at very best. Likeable, but not that good... #AVFC— Andy Dakin (@AndyDakin10) August 20, 2015
Don't think I can take five more years of Bacuna at right back... #avfc— James (@JamesAshNelson) August 20, 2015
Not Bacuna's biggest fan but I don't mind him too much at full-back... just never want to see him in our midfield ever again. #avfc— Matt Quinn (@Mattqu) August 20, 2015
Happy Bacuna has signed a new deal - Not a first team player for me but adds decent depth to our squad #AVFC— AVFC Supporters (@AVFC_supporters) August 20, 2015
Good to see Bacuna has been given a new deal. Good utility player. #avfc— OnlyTheVilla (@AVFC_20) August 20, 2015
I really rate Leo Bacuna!! Quick, skilful, top crosser with a decent set piece, a willingness to so the dirty work and 24 tomorrow!! #AVFC— holteender (@holteender6) August 20, 2015
Not surprised by Bacuna's new contract, but am surprised by length of it. TS loves him. He gives me the jitters when he's defending! #avfc— Ashley Preece (@Ashley_Preece) August 20, 2015
Happy with the Bacuna deal. Very versatile player who will only develop further over the next few years. #avfc— Read Aston Villa (@ReadAstonVilla) August 20, 2015
Bacuna is a good player. Done well when in defence or midfield. Seems to have a great attitude. He's only 24 too! Good to have around. #avfc— J. (@The_Wonderball) August 20, 2015
Least favourite news from #avfc of the summer! 5yrs for Bacuna!!! 5 more years screaming 'head up man' every time he gets the ball— Gareth Edwards (@garethedwards74) August 20, 2015
Very surprised bacuna got a 5 year deal. Really thought he was gonna be on the way out. #AVFC— Baz (@bazfitz1982) August 20, 2015
Bacuna is the better player but Hutton is the better RB #avfc— AKA TedHazell (@SmilinHunter_) August 20, 2015
Bacuna just has to stay disciplined, who cares if he's not a natural defender, You seen how our new Right Winger runs with the ball?! #avfc— Daniel Leonidas (@disdainfullyme) August 20, 2015
Bacuna is a decent player, well worth hanging on to. I'd still like a proper right back mind #AVFC— James Stokes (@Stokesey84) August 20, 2015
Nice to see Bacuna get new deal, never going to be a world beater but versatile squad player and chips in with those free kicks! #avfc— Jamie Hughes (@JayHughes90) August 20, 2015
Off all the contracts we have given out Bacuna is a tad surprising, I don't see him as a top right back perhaps he will prove me wrong #avfc— Richard preece (@awesomefool678) August 20, 2015