ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Aston Villa lining up Quentin Merlin according to Gerrad’s needs.

Steven Gerrard

Aston Villa are targeting Nantes fullback, Quentin Merlin. He is a left-back who could be just the fullback for Gerrad’s playing system. Gerrard puts a lot of emphasis on his full-backs. Gerrard’s first signing Lucas Digne stated his importance to the team.

He said

 “At Villa, the manager wants me to be a part of the attack, and that is great. For the team and for myself, I’m coming up to the best age for a football player – and I believe the next few seasons will be the best in my career.”

With Matt Targett leaving, a new left-back will be needed. Moreover, Digne will be the first choice left-back. Moreover, he will serve as a teacher to Quentin Merlin.

Overview of Quentin Merlin

He is a 20-year-old attacking left-back. He has made 28 appearances and started 21 games for French side FC Nantes in Ligue 1. Moreover, he can play in systems involving three defenders or four defenders however, he plays better when there are three centre-backs which allows him the freedom to attack.

In addition to this, he can play in the final third of the field in the central area of the field and even play on the left-wing. This is where he is used in the French national youth team. Thus he can play as a defender or even as an attacker.

His strengths are possession and the final third. He averages 5.9 progressive passes, 6.2 progressive carries, 4.9 passes to the final third, and just under three shot-creating actions. Thus he is a forward-thinking player because he looks to receive the ball and quickly push it forward. He has excellent passing ability and is always relaxed in possession.

However, he is inexperienced in the defensive end of the business as he averages just over 17 pressures per game and his success rate only stands at just  25.5%.

Thus it can be said that Merlin, is a superb attacking fullback which is just what Gerrard wants but his defensive abilities are not that impressive which could be a thorn in Gerrard’s side as well. However, Merlin is still 20 years old, he could learn his defensive game and become a fantastic fullback.

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