Why Aston Villa should go all out to sign Ethan Ebanks-Landell in January
According to Birmingham Live, Wolverhampton’s out-of-favour centre-back Ethan Ebanks-Landell is looking for an exit after being frozen out of the first-team scheme of things by manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
The 25-year-old was a regular for Wolves in the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons in the Championship and has made a total of 51 appearances across all competitions.
However, he was deemed surplus to the club’s requirements thereafter, spending time on loan at Sheffield United and MK Dons.
In Conor Coady, Ryan Bennett and Willy Boly, Wolves have three high-quality centre-backs who have been in great form this season. Ebanks-Landell hasn’t played a game for the club in the last couple of years and it is highly unlikely that he is going to get a look in from Nuno Santo this season.
Standing at 6ft 2in with a towering frame, Ebanks-Landell can prove to be a handful for any attacker due to his physical strength. He is more than capable of outmuscling his offensive counterparts with his physicality, which is definitely a valuable asset to a centre-back’s game.
The 25-year-old is quite agile for a defender of his stature and has the ability to cover the ground quickly, beating the opposition’s centre-forward with ease. In fact, he averaged 4.1 successful aerial duels per game back in the 2015/16 season of the Championship.
A no-nonsense defender, Ebanks-Landell plays risk-free football, clearing his lines more often than not. He averaged a mammoth 8.2 clearances per game back in the 2015/16 season. Furthermore, he does not hesitate to go into tackles and is a decent reader of the game at the back.
The 25-year-old does tend to let the team down at times with occasional mental freezes or poor positioning but his assets as a centre-back outweigh his liabilities.
To put things into perspective, Aston Villa should make a move for the out of favour centre-back. Villa currently sit 8th in the Championship standings with 31 points from 20 games, nine points behind table-toppers Norwich City.
Dean Smith has turned Villa’s fortunes around in the Championship after a horrible start to the season under Steve Bruce.
Villa have registered some crucial victories in recent weeks against the likes of Derby County, Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough, reigniting their hopes of a possible promotion to the Premier League.
However, the team hasn’t shown much improvement at the back under Dean Smith. Villa have been poor at the back all season and have shipped goals at an alarming rate, having conceded 30 already. The 5-5 draw against Nottingham Forest further documented the need for defensive reinforcements in January.
James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe have been inconsistent throughout the season and once again, had a defensive nightmare as they allowed too much space for the opposition to exploit in that 5-5 draw. Mile Jedinak, 34, is an experienced defender but he is at the twilight of his career and could call it a day sooner or later.
Still only 25, Ebanks-Landell has plenty of years remaining in his prime and has a lot to offer at the highest level. Hence, a move away from Molineux to Villa Park in January would be a win-win situation for all parties involved.