It's official, Malian midfielder Yacouba Sylla is no longer an Aston Villa player, having signed for Ligue 1 side Stade Rennes on a four year deal.
[Off. Mercato] Yacouba Sylla rejoint officiellement le @staderennais pour 4 ans (juin 2019). cc @91_yacou #SRFC pic.twitter.com/iEcG1Ln71y— Stade Rennais F.C. (@staderennais) June 22, 2015
Whilst Sylla departing should not come as a surprise, his destination is somewhat surprising. Although Stade Rennais only finished in 9th place in Ligue 1 this season, they can still be considered a step up from the side that Sylla spent the season on loan at, in Turkey's Kayseri Erciyesspor. At Rennes, Sylla will link up with some world class players, including Ola Toivonen, Benoit Costil and even former Villa man, Jean Makoun.
It's hard to argue that this move isn't a good deal for all parties involved, Sylla had no future at Aston Villa, and a fresh start in the Nation where he began his career could be the revival that the player needs. You could even argue that Sylla has secured a step up, as at this stage, it is more likely to be seeing Rennes securing European football than Villa.
No transfer fee has been revealed at this stage, but it is unlikely to be more than the £2 million that Villa spent to sign him in early 2013. Having played 22 games for the club since then, with only a handful of those being meaningful contributions, it is not a sad thing to be seeing Sylla depart, unlike Andi Weimann and Matt Lowton. There was maybe potential there, but ultimately, Yacouba Sylla will be remembered more for his hairstyles than his performances.