Newcastle United's Cheick Tiote would be a great signing for Villa
Aston Villa's atrocious 2015/16 Premier League campaign culminated in relegation to the Championship.
Their weak, timid displays contributed to one of the worst points tallies in the history of the English top flight, and was epitomised by the lack of fight and team spirit shown by the players.
In order for the Villans to climb out of the Championship at the first attempt, new boss Roberto Di Matteo must ensure that he recruits players with the necessary physical and mental attributes that are required to compete in one of the most challenging leagues in the world.
Tiote's combative style is exactly what Villa need
Villa desperately lacked a leader in midfield last season and were found short when they needed to roll their sleeves up and grind out a result.
The perfect signing for the Midlands club would be Newcastle United's Cheick Tiote.
The 30-year-old Ivory Coast international would instantly transform Di Matteo's men with his industrious displays and tenacious, aggressive attitude.
Roberto Di Matteo should be targeting players with the attributes required to compete in the Championship
The Magpies midfield star would seemingly be available after Sky Sports reported back in January that a £5 million bid was accepted from Shanghai Shenhua, before Tiote's wage demands scuppered any kind of move. He only made 16 Premier league starts for the North East club last season and just seven appearances after the arrival of Toon boss Rafa Benitez.
A move could depend on whether or not Newcastle would sell to a promotion rival, and if they manage to keep hold of Moussa Sissoko, but the Villa hierarchy should nevertheless test Mike Ashley's resolve and determination to hold on to Tiote by lodging a bid as soon as possible.
The signing of the Ivory Coast star, should a move come to fruition, would have the potential to transform Villa overnight into genuine Championship title contenders.
Would Rafa be tempted into selling Tiote if a substantial offer was tabled?