The Aston Villa fans have been feeling miserable in the Transfer Tavern since their side suffered their second successive defeat against Bolton Wanderers at the Macron Stadium last weekend.
Steve Bruce’s side had been making steady progress towards the automatic promotion places in recent months, and when they recorded a 4-1 victory over league-leaders Wolves it seemed that plenty of our resident Villans faithful were convinced they could break into the top-two. But situations have a habit of turning on their head in the blinking of an eye in football, as fast-forward a week on from that huge result and their hopes of finishing in the top-two are effectively dead and buried.
However, hope is not lost for Villa supporters, as they should be able to qualify for the play-offs this season barring a complete capitulation during the final weeks of the season. Talk of who Villa should sign in the event of returning to the Premier League has been a dominant topic of conversation in the tavern in recent weeks, but the club don’t necessarily have to achieve promotion to secure the signatures of quality players next season.
Villa have stated their intentions for the future with their climb up the table this season, so they should be able to convince players of Premier League quality to move to Villa Park regardless of whether they clinch promotion or not. With that being said, Bruce should make a bid to sign Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn on loan this summer to both bolster his options in attacking midfield and to enhance the 18-year-old’s career.
So far this season, Woodburn has barely had a sniff of the first-team at Liverpool, as his involvement has been limited to just 1 substitute appearance in the League Cup against Leicester City back in September. Woodburn has been training with the first-team squad this season, and that experience in itself is bound to have enabled him to improve, but he also needs first-team opportunities in a match situation to realise the full extent of his potential.
Woodburn is a right-footed attacking-midfielder who is most comfortable playing as a number ten or on the left-wing, and his injection of creativity and guile in the final-third could be a lethal asset for Villa next season in either The Championship or the Premier League. After spending the majority of the season on the sideline this season, Woodburn will be desperate to kick-start his career during the next campaign, so Villa should make a loan bid for his services this summer to boost their attacking threat.