Elphick arrives at Villa Park for a fee believed to be in the region of around £3.6 million and considering the 28-year-old’s experience as well as quality, he could well prove to be a very good signing for the Villans.
The recruitment of Elphick not only strengthens the weak Villa back line but it will also give the club a chance to dispense with the services of the much maligned Joleon Lescott.
Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) June 20, 2016
While fans will be hopeful that the arrival of Elphick results in the exit of Lescott, Villa should instead consider dispensing with the services of another defender in the form of Nathan Baker.
Baker was handed a new four-year deal by Villa at the start of last season but former manager Tim Sherwood inexplicably did not allow the defender even a single minute of action in the Premier League.
As a result, the former England under-19 international moved out on loan to Championship club Bristol City and did a good job, playing a role in helping the Robins avoid the drop. Unsurprisingly, the Bristol Post have recently claimed that Bristol City are keen on signing Baker permanently this summer.
Given his relatively young age as well as encouraging performances in the Championship last season, Villa would perhaps prefer to keep hold of Baker this summer and the club faithful would be open to the idea as well. The defender certainly is a very committed player and the former academy graduate undoubtedly loves the club.
That being said, keeping Baker would be more harmful than beneficial for Villa. Di Matteo is a manager who prioritizes defensive stability and he is expected to adopt a solid if unspectacular 4-2-3-1 system at Villa Park during the upcoming campaign.
The system means that Di Matteo will most likely be playing with two banks of four and such tactics does not allow too much room for error at the back.
Lion hearted as Baker may be, he is more than susceptible to making mistakes as his performances for Villa over the last few seasons testify and his passing accuracy from the back of 67% can be viewed as very poor.
It remains to be seen if Baker features in the plans of Di Matteo but looking at things from the surface level, the 25-year-old looks ill suited under the Italian manager and the club should consider selling the defender, especially as he is believed to be valued at around £2 million by various clubs.