Villa sold Ciaran Clark for good reason: Nathan Baker has a higher talent ceiling.
The Englishman is slightly younger, has a year of solid Championship experience and is a goalscorer. Frankly, he should be the guy to finally replace Martin Laursen at the heart of Villa’s defence.
That hasn’t turned out well, thus far.
Nathan Baker doesn’t suffer from the same issues that plagued Ciaran Clark such as needless aggression, but Baker arguably has worse flaws - he’s very easily injured. A issue shared by Baker’s partner, Jores Okore.
Whilst Okore has slightly stagnated due to injury and discipline issues, Baker has pushed on and might be a better player for Villa this year. That’s the hope, anyway.
It’s a big year for Nathan and he could very well find himself edged out of the squad if Elphick and Okore perform well. That being said, no one fights harder than Nathan Baker, who consistently puts it all on the line for the claret & blue. You’ll see him a lot this year, in what could make or break his Aston Villa career.