Aston Villa have a contingency plan in case they miss out on Kalvin Phillips. Dean Smith wants a new central midfielder and he could target a reunion with Ryan Woods, according to The Mirror.
Woods is currently at Stoke City after joining from Brentford. While with Brentford, Smith worked with Woods and they formed a strong partnership for the West London club.
Last summer, Smith lost Woods as he joined Stoke on loan with an obligation to buy. That deal became permanent in January and he played 27 games for the mid-table Potters.
Prior to that, he played 128 times for Brentford and was a key man under Smith. This summer, he could be handed a Premier League chance by Smith at Aston Villa.
But Leeds United star Phillips remains the Villans’ top midfield target. The 23-year-old is rated at around £30m (The Mirror) and is also wanted by Bournemouth and Wolves.
If Aston Villa miss out on Phillips due to Leeds’ demands, Phillips’ preference or another team winning the race, then it appears that Woods would become the next midfield target.
Is Woods the right man?
It is clear that Smith now wants to sort out his midfield, having signed a striker and several defenders. Phillips would be an exceptional signing but is Woods a good back-up?
The 25-year-old is well-known by Smith, who squeezed the best out of him at Brentford. But he had a difficult season with Stoke and has not exactly earned a Premier League move.
If Smith can get him back to his best, though, he could be a good squad option for Aston Villa in the Premier League.