By Jonty Banks

8th Mar, 2023 | 11:10am

Aston Villa Women should table new contract offer for Rachel Daly with summer interest likely

Aston Villa Women might have a fight on their hands to keep Rachel Daly at the club beyond this season, given her scintillating form in the Women’s Super League this season.

The 31-year-old only made her switch from Houston Dash to the West Midlands last summer, but since then has become one of the most in-form players in Europe.

Having featured as a left-back in the Lionesses Euro 2022 winning side, it possibly came as a surprise to many to see Daly scoring at such a rapid rate under Carla Ward this campaign. However, the Villa number nine now stands a realistic chance of starting at centre-forward for Sarina Wiegmann at the World Cup later this year.

The stats are simply too good to ignore in Daly’s case. A total of 17 goals from 20 games, at a rate of one every 104 minutes, is only bettered by Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw, but notably, Daly has a better record than any of the Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United forwards. [BBC Sport]

This is where the worry will lie for Aston Villa. On January transfer deadline day, Arsenal placed a world record bid for Alessia Russo, with Manchester United eventually rejecting the lucrative offer.

And although they failed on their first attempts, the Gunners are likely to dip back into the market to improve their faltering forward line. Over the course of this season, their top scorer is Vivianne Miedema, with just four goals – a total bettered or equalled by Daly, Jordan Nobbs and Kenza Dali.

Villa remain in a strong position not to sell Daly in the summer, with the forward still having two years left on her contract when the season comes to an end; however, the money that the Gunners attempted to lure Russo with is a spending power that few other clubs could match and would be hard to resist.

If Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris harbour ambitions of making Villa a WSL force in the coming years, keeping hold of Daly will be central to any plans.

Although Daly has two years remaining on her contract, it would be a smart move to offer her a new and improved contract at Villa Park to stave off any circling clubs in the summer transfer window.

In other Aston Villa news, Ashley Young’s crossroads has left the door ajar for a rising star to stake his claim under Unai Emery.