Why Stoke City must go all out to complete a deal for Aston Villa’s James Chester
Villa rejected the initial £5m offer from Stoke and are looking for a £10m deal but negotiations are now reportedly in the region of £8m. It is understood that the Villans still owe West Bromwich Albion a part of the £8million transfer fee which they agreed to pay in order to sign him back in 2016.
Aston Villa are in a wobbly state as they have to raise £40million to abide by the regulations imposed by Financial Fair Play after failing to achieve promotion to the Premier League this past season.
Apart from Chester, the likes of Conor Hourihane, Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia could be sold before the deadline as manager Steve Bruce looks to balance the books.
Stoke can take advantage of Villa’s financial crunch and they do have the Premier League parachute funds to sign Chester.
One of the best defenders in the Championship, Chester will be a fantastic signing for the Potters. He enjoyed a superb season at the heart of Villa’s defence as the Midlands club just missed out on Premier League promotion, losing 1-0 to Fulham in the play-off final.
Chester graduated through the youth academy at Manchester United and has gained a wealth of English football experience under his belt. The Welshman has represented the likes of Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle, Carlisle United, Hull City, West Brom and Aston Villa, and was undoubtedly one of the best defenders in the Championship last season.
Alongside John Terry, Chester formed a rock-solid central defensive partnership. In 49 appearances in all competitions, the 29-year-old scored 4 goals and registered a single assist.
He is calm and composed on the ball, a good reader of the game and also solid in the air despite being just 5ft 11in. Not only has Chester proven himself in the Championship but also has Premier League experience, having turned up for both Hull and West Brom at the highest level. The 29-year-old also has a solid international pedigree, having played 31 times for Wales.
Gary Rowett needs to show more ambition in the transfer market if he is to help Stoke attain Premier League status at the first time of asking.
If Rowett manages to add Chester to his ranks, Stoke will certainly boost their promotion hopes and also cause a dent in Villa’s own dreams of playing in the Premier League.