Transfer windows are often defined by the biggest signings with the highest fees and the likes of Rodri, Harry Maguire and Tanguy Ndombele have dominated headlines throughout the summer after hugely expensive deals that brought along their moves.
However, there is something to be said about those who have drifted under the radar when compared to such big names and in our Under the Radar feature, we’ll be analysing some of the individuals who perhaps didn’t arrive to all that much fanfare.
Bjorn Engels – Aston Villa
When Villa signed defender Bjorn Engels for £9m from Reims, as reported by Sky Sports, onlookers may have been forgiven in not knowing all too much about him and having lost him in the shuffle after his new side spent big on the likes of Tyrone Mings and Wesley.
Villa had already signed three other centre-backs in Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause, while he was also the club’s eighth signing of what would eventually become 12, as per the official Premier League website.
However, he has already shown that he has gone to Villa Park to do much more than make up the numbers on Dean Smith’s squad list, as the 24-year-old started Villa’s opening Premier League game away against Tottenham Hotspur alongside Mings.
Engels was an integral part of the defence which managed to withstand the brutal and constant waves of pressure from the men in white until the 73rd minute – he, along with the rest of his teammates can feel it is unjust they ended up conceding three.
The Belgian was resilient and precise defensively, completing both of the tackles he attempted, while also making six clearances and one interception, as well as winning three aerial duels, as per WhoScored.
The former Olympiacos and Club Brugge man was also efficient with the ball at his feet, as he completed 88% of his attempted passes and the one dribble he made.
This was a baptism of fire for some of Villa’s new recruits and while they didn’t come away from it with any points, there were definitely some encouraging signs – one of the most prominent of those was the partnership between Engels and Mings, which could prove formidable going forward.
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