Aston Villa’s left-back problem may be solved by a man with a familiar face to supporters: Aly Cissokho.
The defender who was shipped out to Porto over the summer on loan has come back much earlier than expected, if he was expected to come back at all; the Portugese club confirmed today Cissokho has re-joined Aston Villa just four months after joining the Dragons on loan.
With Jordan Amavi’s season-ending injury and Rémi Garde currently playing Leandro Bacuna out of position at left back,this move makes all the sense in the world. Granted, some supporters will point to his inability to get into Tim Sherwood’s sides as a detriment, but Cissokho returning is fantastic news for the Villa back line.
Under Paul Lambert for the first two-thirds of last season, Cissokho was often solid, if not unspectacular. He was part of the back line that got the Claret and Blues off to a great start and was undoubtedly the best defensive fullback in the squad.
However, when Sherwood came in, he immediately wanted to increase the attacking threat of the team while working with a narrow formation, meaning Cissokho got the axe for Kieran Richardson — an inferior defender but better attacker. Cissokho was never going to be a player under Sherwood and thus, it made all the sense in the world to move him on over the summer.
But with Garde now in charge at Villa, the formation and inspiration for the attack has shifted gears. Rather than relying solely on fullbacks for the width, Garde has been playing Scott Sinclair and Jordan Ayew in wide positions recently, meaning Cissokho’s liability going forward should be mitigated if he were to move his way into the starting XI.
And it seems unlikely that Cissokho, who made just three appearances at Porto, wouldn’t be the first-choice left back when he’s eligible to return to the Villa squad for the January 2 trip to Sunderland — he appeared 48 times for Garde in the 2011-12 campaign, Garde’s first at Lyon, before moving to Valencia, Liverpool and Villa in successive years.
It’s a player Garde has familiarity with and one that, quite frankly, wasn’t the biggest issue with Villa last year. Cissokho has to be the best fit left back in the Villa camp, and without quite as strong of a reliance on fullbacks getting forward under his fellow Frenchman, it’s hard not to like this move.
Should Villa still target another left back in the window? Or does the recall of Cissokho coupled with Joe Bennett’s January return mean the Claret and Blues need to look elsewhere? Let us know down below in the comments!