Dan Bardell: Aston Villa Women can jump the queue for future loan signings due to top-class facilities
The facilities at Carla Ward’s disposal at Aston Villa have made the club a seriously attractive prospect for players searching for a transfer in the last 12 months.
The business that the West Midlands outfit have undertaken in the last two windows has defied expectations, with the likes of Rachel Daly, Kenza Dali and Jordan Nobbs all helping to transform Villa from relegation contenders to a team on the cusp of the top four of the WSL.
However, the loan players that Ward managed to snap up in the summer are just as important to permanent signings. Manchester United winger Kirsty Hanson and Arsenal defender Anna Patten both moved to Bodymoor Heath on season-long loans, and have proven themselves to be extremely useful acquisitions.
Hanson, 24, has burst into life since the mid-season break and taken her numbers for the season to an impressive four goals and six assists from 18 games this season. Patten, meanwhile, confirmed her sky-high potential by captaining England Under-23s in the recent international break and scoring in the resounding 3-1 victory over Belgium.
Villa now must now look to make these two players their top-priority transfers targets in the summer window, as both have taken giant strides under Ward this term but have shown there is still plenty more in the tank to come.
Speaking exclusively to Villa News, The Athletic’s Dan Bardell admitted that the facilities at Villa’s disposal would help the club jump to the front of the queue when cherry-picking the best talent to fall off the trees of the top-four clubs in the WSL.
He said: “There won’t be many teams outside the big four who have a set-up as strong as Villa do, and these players who are coming in on loan [Patten and Hanson] for a year will see the top-class facilities the club have and see they are trying to have a real go at climbing the WSL.
“I just think if Villa can be in a position where they are the number one choice to pick off players who leave Arsenal, who leave Chelsea or Manchester City, it’s going to accelerate Villa’s progress even further because those players still have class even though they aren’t getting in these top teams.
“If Villa can jump the queue for the likes of Hanson, who they got on loan from Manchester United, they are only going to make bigger strides.
“The club are going to be an attractive proposition going forward, and seeing how well their loan players have done this season is a great sign of what’s to come.”
Even if Villa don’t manage to secure the permanent additions of Hanson and Patten from their original loans, the club are now well placed to sign further players from the top four due to their high-class manager and squad brimming full of international quality players.
The investment from the club’s hierarchy in the facilities at Bodymoor Heath is a brilliant indication of their WSL ambitions in the coming years, and hopefully, they will continue to back Ward in the transfer market.
In other Aston Villa news, one of the club’s rising stars can end a barren academy run going back to Jack Grealish.