What’s the word?
As per the Daily Mail, the Midlands side have been named as one of a handful of clubs who are interested in the 29-year-old, with the player set to be available on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract in June.
The Clarets had held firm on their asset in January to thwart any potential interest from Premier League rivals, although now appear set to lose the centre-back for nothing, with the Turf Moor outfit’s drop into the second tier likely to only heighten the £19.8m-rated man’s desire to depart.
Not only would his arrival prove something of a coup owing to its bargain nature – particularly as he had been valued at roughly £50m just under two years ago – securing the services of the two-cap England international would also prove an instant fix to try and solve the club’s defensive woes.
Villa’s final day defeat at the Etihad saw the visitors ship three goals in the space of just five minutes to squander a 2-0 lead and hand their hosts the title, with those efforts also ensuring that Gerrard’s charges ended the campaign with 54 goals conceded – the tenth worst record in the division.
Is Tarkowski the answer at Villa?
Not for me!
Yes, total faith
That is in fact a marginally worse record than that of Burnley, even though the Lancashire side suffered relegation, with it having largely been problems at the other end of the pitch that had culminated in relegation for Mike Jackson’s men.
Amid that difficult campaign, the £70k-per-week Tarkowski still boasted some impressive statistics, averaging 5.2 clearances per game, as well as 1.4 interceptions and 1.8 tackles, while also winning an impressive 68% of his total duels.
Compared to centre-backs across Europe’s top five leagues, he also ranks in the top 1% for blocks and aerial duels won, as well as in the top 3% for clearances made, while also proving himself more than just a defensive asset as he ranked in the top 1% for touches in the attacking penalty area and in the top 17% for progressive passes received.
A real solid presence at the back – having been labelled a “rock” by journalist Alex James – the former Brentford man is a defender first and foremost, with his arrival at Villa Park likely to allow the creative, attacking talent ahead of him to shine with less concern about having a leaky defence.
Current skipper Tyrone Mings has been the notable source of blame this season, with pundit Danny Mills suggesting that there is “a mistake in his game somewhere”, with the 29-year-old notably ranking in just the top 44% for aerial duels won among players in his position in Europe’s top five leagues, as well as in just the top 82% for tackles made.
Those statistics make pretty grim reading, with it clear that an upgrade is needed for Gerrard next season, with Tarkowski seemingly the man to do the job.
AND in other news: “Villa would…”: Gregg Evans drops huge transfer claim, supporters will be buzzing