Leander Dendoncker's 'dependable' and 'physical' traits may save him from reported Aston Villa departure
We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports journalist Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…
Leander Dendoncker is a quality squad player for Unai Emery’s Aston Villa, but his eyes may be on a move away from Villa Park if he wants to secure international football at Euro 2024 next summer, claims Dan Bardell.
Aston Villa are reportedly open to offers for the 28-year-old, with French, Italian and English top-flight sides keen on his signature [Fabrizio Romano] after playing just under 700 minutes in the Premier League this season.
In a bid to secure himself a place in Domenico Tedesco’s Belgium national side for the European Championships next summer in Germany, Dendoncker could be keen on a move to secure more game time.
However, Bardell has praised the former Wolves man for his seamless integration into the Villa side as a substitute while claiming there could still be a place for him in the squad.
Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Bardell said: “The times Dendoncker came in last season, I think he did really, really well. He came in for the Newcastle game, which in my opinion was Villa’s best performance of the season, and he hadn’t played for two or three months.
“He came in that day and slotted in like he’d been there every week. That’s the sign of a dependable squad player, a reliable player.
“Villa can’t just buy, buy, buy. There’s a lot of money for Villa to spend but they can’t buy every summer without selling someone. If they can sell and get the money back they paid for Dendoncker, who’s not first choice, then they’ll probably do it.
“There’s no harm in having someone like him in the squad. McGinn and Ramsey have occupied the wide positions in the 4-4-2 that Villa plays, so Dendoncker slots in quite nicely as a fourth-choice central midfielder.
“But it’s a tough one. He might want to go and play. He left Wolves because he wasn’t playing, and then he joins Villa where he’s probably never going to be first choice.
“He may want to play with the Euros coming up at the end of the season, which is always interesting in the transfer window when players have an eye on their place in their country’s plans. Obviously, they’ve got a better chance if they’re playing every week.
“The games he played last season, I think he had a quietly assured time and went about his job. He’s low maintenance and minimum fuss and did well. He’s someone I like, and I like that there’s a bit of size to him.
“Generally, Villa are quite a small team, and when you need a bit more physicality I think Dendoncker adds a bit of something. Even with Tielemans coming in, it’s not like-for-like at all.
“But whatever Villa do, transfer-wise, the fans will trust Emery. He has so much credit in the bank and everything he’s touched so far has turned to gold. If Emery has decided he doesn’t need Dendoncker, then Villa fans will back that.”