The Bees boss is among the favourites to succeed Roberto Di Matteo at Villa Park.

Brentford boss Dean Smith is among the favourites to succeed Roberto Di Matteo at Aston Villa – and if the 45-year-old is appointed at Villa Park there’s one player he should strive to bring with him when the transfer window reopens.

From a Bees perspective at least, seven-goal striker Scott Hogan has made most of the headlines this season, while goalkeeper Daniel Bentley’s five clean sheets have also caught the eye.

Villa however, have more attackers than HMP Birmingham right now, and invested heavily in young shot-stopper Pierluigi Gollini during the summer, making moves for either player unlikely.

If one area of the squad is in need of improvement it’s arguably in the centre of the pitch. Former West Brom midfielder Richard Sneekes certainly thinks so, telling BBC West Midlands on Wednesday that Villa hadn’t recruited well enough in that department.

Brentford’s Ryan Woods would certainly improve things based on the following Opta stats, which see him compare favourably to his Villa counterparts in several key areas – notably his comfort in possession.

  Team Touches GAME Interception Won GAME Accurate Pass GAME Accurate Fwd Zone Pass GAME Won Contest GAME Appearances
Ryan Woods Brentford 72.78 1.44 46.33 23.67 1.33 9
Mile Jedinak Aston Villa 71.67 1.5 41.67


0.33 6
Ashley Westwood Aston Villa 49.27 1.45 31.73 18.73


Aaron Tshibola Aston Villa 41.2 1


14 0.8 5
Gary Gardner Aston Villa 27.5 1.33


 9.17 0 6

The Shropshire native drew hordes of admirers during the Bees’ 1-1 draw at Villa Park last month and later revealed how he’d turned down the club as a youngster.

But were his manager – who grew up supporting the Villans, to defect – then Woods may just have a change of heart.

In other news, Report: Arsenal boss Arteta has put £100k-a-week beast up for sale