Frederic Guilbert’s Aston Villa nightmare will soon come to an end, as a ‘total agreement’ has reportedly been reached with Strasbourg over a transfer.
Villa fans could be forgiven for forgetting Guilbert is on the books at the club. He has not featured in a first-team game for the Midlanders since the second round of last season’s league cup.
That was the only game he played for Villa that season. He was then shipped out to Strasbourg on a loan deal – the second time he’d ventured to the French club in two seasons.
It was also the third time he’d returned to play in France on loan in total since joining Villa in 2019. Indeed, he went back to Caen immediately after signing from them in January of that year.
In total, Guilbert has played 32 times for Villa in four years. All but three of those appearances came in the 2019/20 campaign.
That Villa did not have the best season probably did not help his case for remaining in the side long term. Indeed, the Villans finished 17th in the Premier League, only surviving the drop on the final day of the season.
In the summer of 2020, Matty Cash was signed from Nottingham Forest, pushing Guilbert down the pecking order. The Poland international has staked his claim to be the starting right-back at the club.
For Guilbert, not only does he not find himself at the top of the pecking order, but nowhere near it. Indeed, Ezri Konsa, Calum Chambers and Ashley Young are all capable of playing right-back, so the Frenchman doesn’t get near the squad.
Guilbert Villa nightmare set to cease
In the summer, it was reported that Villa were ready to let Guilbert leave. That should have been evident from his lack of playing time at the club over the years.
Villa were reported to be prepared to lower their asking price in order to see the back of him. However, nothing came of that, and he has remained in Birmingham, and has played three times for Villa’s Under-23s this season.
Now, it seems like he might finally have the opportunity to end his nightmare spell at the club.
Indeed, a report from Alsa Sports suggests he is on his way back to Strasbourg, this time on a permanent deal. That report states discussions have ‘intensified’ and the sides have reached a ‘total agreement in principle’.
What’s more, Guilbert ‘should officially commit’ to a three-and-a-half-year deal ‘in the coming days’.
The opportunity to finally play consistent football again will be a good one for the right-back. It has been clear for some time that he does not have a home at Villa.
Managers have come and gone, and he has hardly gotten a sniff, so a move away has seemed the best course of action for a while.
No change at Villa
For Villa, Guilbert moving on changes very little. He hasn’t seen a first-team squad all season, and there is a wealth of options on the right side of defence, so he will not be missed.
His contract was going to be up at the end of the season, so he would have moved on anyway. It is unclear from the reports if he is moving at the end of the season, or Strasbourg are buying him from Villa to move straight away.
For Unai Emery’s side, it does not make much of a difference either way, it will merely get some wages off the books.
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