Former Aston Villa striker Darren Bent believes Dean Smith’s job is not under threat after his side dropped into the Premier League’s bottom three at the weekend – but has urged the Villa boss to buy in January.
Villa’s defeat to Southampton leaves the Villans in 18th place ahead of the season’s midway point on Boxing Day, which sees the team face another basement battle against second-bottom Norwich City.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, Bent suggests that Smith will not be paying for the team’s failures with his job – even if the club end up getting relegated at the end of the season.
He said: “I think they’ll still give him time. This is his first crack in the Premier League – he did a great job last season getting them up.
“To get them out of problems, they’re going to have to spend money in January.
“For me, in January, they need to go and get a centre-forward. Someone that can go and put the ball in the net consistently.
“Will they still sack him [if Villa are relegated]? I’m not quite sure – if they are where they are and there’s a gap starting to form, then they might just think ‘we might have to just ride this season out, we know this guy’s got the capabilities of getting us back out of the Championship if the worst comes to the worst.’”
With Villa having won just one of their last nine Premier League games, it is no surprise that they have slumped into the relegation zone nor that Bent feels a goalscorer is needed in the winter transfer window.
Main striker Wesley has scored less often than midfielders Jack Grealish and Conor Hourihane in all competitions this season, while Bent has been a previous advocate of a new striker coming in at Villa Park.
Given Villa were only promoted last season – despite appointing Smith in October 2018 – it may be harsh for the owners to make the manager a victim of the success that saw him earn promotion within eight months of taking the job.
Meanwhile, perhaps talk over the manager’s future is best kept for more desperate times at Aston Villa, as with the Villans still perfectly within reach of safety and half the season yet to play, Dean Smith has more than enough time to turn things around ahead of the January window.
Who should start for Aston Villa, Wesley or Kodjia?
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience