Aston Villa is gearing up for a season filled with European football, a remarkable feat after a decade-long absence, all thanks to the brilliance of manager Unai Emery. The Villans’ impressive seventh-place finish in the Premier League has secured them a spot in the Europa Conference League, ensuring their participation in at least the play-off stages of the competition. Building on the recent success of West Ham, who triumphed in the tournament last month, Aston Villa fans are filled with hope and anticipation for an exhilarating European adventure, keeping in mind the manager’s history in cup competitions.
All eyes are on the summer transfer market as Emery aims to bolster his squad and maintain its upward trajectory. We expect manager Unai Emery will receive significant backing in the current market as the club is determined to continue its progress.
Aston Villa has been linked with various players as the club seeks to strengthen its ranks. The latest signing to capture the spotlight is Youri Tielemans. The Midlands club has successfully acquired the talented midfielder from Leicester on a free transfer, as Tielemans’ contract at the King Power Stadium expires next month in July.
Youri Tielemans, hailing from Anderlecht Belgium, embarked on his professional journey by joining Leicester from Monaco in a notable £40 million ($74.6 million) transfer deal in July 2019. His initial loan spell with the Foxes during the latter half of the preceding season had already showcased his immense potential and paved the way for his permanent move.
During his time at Leicester, Tielemans made a remarkable 195 appearances for the club, leaving an indelible mark on midfield. His contributions extended beyond his defensive duties, as he showcased his prowess in front of goal, finding the back of the net 28 times. Notably, Tielemans etched his name in Leicester history by scoring the sensational match-winning goal in the 2021 FA Cup final, securing a memorable 1-0 victory over Chelsea.
Beyond his club achievements, Tielemans has also represented his home country Belgium at major international tournaments. He proudly wore the national team jersey in the finals of both the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, as well as UEFA EURO 2020. His international experience further highlights his stature as a highly regarded and accomplished midfielder on the global stage.
Despite enduring a 43-day injury absence with a torn ankle ligament, Youri Tielemans made a significant contribution to Leicester’s 2022-23 season. However, the missed games proved costly for the team’s Premier League survival. In the 31 Premier League matches he participated in, Tielemans recorded five goals or assists.
Compared to the previous season, Tielemans’ offensive output saw a slight decrease, with three goals plus two assists compared to his six goals plus four assists the season before. But the Belgian showcased remarkable precision in his passing game, boasting an impressive 80.3% success rate, well above his career average of 79.6%. Additionally, he did manage to do well at creating chances, registering a career-high of 6.5 key passes per 90 minutes — a testament to his playmaking abilities in the English top-flight.
Tielemans also demonstrated his defensive prowess, making an average of 1.08 interceptions per 90 minutes and 1.35 blocks per game. These statistics highlight his ability to contribute to both the attacking and defensive aspects of the game, further solidifying his importance to the team.
Interestingly, Tielemans’ numbers seemed to have swapped with Aston Villa’s own Douglas Luiz, who had a highly productive season, bagging six goals and six assists while thriving as a key component in Unai Emery’s side. Furthermore, Tielemans’ passing accuracy and chances created were lower than those of his new teammates Luiz and Jacob Ramsey.
It’s important to consider that Tielemans’ drop-off in performance can be attributed, at least in part, to playing in a struggling team with uncertainty surrounding his future, a contested topic that must have impacted his state of mind. However, Tielemans remains a player capable of performing at a much higher level than he displayed last season.
During his time at Leicester, Tielemans established himself as one of the Premier League’s top midfielders, known for his durability as well as skill on the field. He brings versatility to Villa, able to operate alongside Luiz or provide a counter-pivot to the more aggresive style of John McGinn.
Tielemans’ exceptional skill set, versatility, and unwavering commitment upfront and defensively are poised to become invaluable assets for Aston Villa in the upcoming season. The Villans have secured a bargain by acquiring Tielemans on a free transfer, especially considering their upcoming European campaign. It will be intriguing to see how Tielemans fits into Unai Emery’s plans and how that elevates Aston Villa’s performances in the upcoming season.
In Fantasy formats, Tielemans may not consistently generate significant attacking threats or accumulate high point returns for fantasy managers. His strengths lie more in his ability to deliver precise passes in the final third and contribute defensively, rather than being a prolific scorer or provider of assists. However, Tielemans now plays under the guidance of Unai Emery, a tactical genius who adopts a more attacking style of play compared to Leicester. Watch what role he assumes within the team to assess his fantasy value.
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