Dean Smith’s Aston Villa have lost all their Premier League games since they let James Chester sign for Championship outfit Stoke City in January.
Joe Allen has hailed Stoke City’s decision to sign James Chester on loan from Aston Villa, telling the BBC that his Wales international teammate has made a huge impact at the Potteries.
After falling down the pecking order at Villa Park, a 31-year-old centre-back was desperate to secure first-team football for the second half of 2019/20 in order to give him the best possible chance of playing for Wales at Euro 2020 this summer.
And, with Chester back to his battling best already at the Bet365 Stadium, Villa supporters may be wondering whether they should have kept a modern-day club hero in claret and blue.
While Dean Smith’s side slumped to an insipid defeat at Southampton on Saturday, losing 2-0 in a game which could easily have finished 5-0, Chester helped relegation threatened Stoke keep a valuable clean sheet in their hard-fought victory over Cardiff City.
Allen, for one, is thrilled to be reunited with a proven Championship performer.
“He is looking as good as ever, which is good news all round” said the £13 million midfielder.
“It’s a big boost for Stoke – he has come in and helped us massively – and we are giving him the chance to play regularly, which gives him a big boost on the international side. I was thrilled when we were able to sign him.”
Aston Villa have lost all three of their Premier League games since Chester’s departure, conceding 10 goals in the process.
It is hard to imagine the 31-year-old making the kind of crucial errors which cost the Midland a point in last week’s collapse against Tottenham (yes, we’re looking at you Bjorn Engels) with his leadership skills and battling qualities integral both on and off the pitch.
In hindsight, loaning Chester out, with Premier League survival on the line, may be a decision Smith comes to regret.