Boubacar Kamara has been Aston Villa’s most high profile signing of the summer so far. The Frenchman, who penned a five-year deal with the Villans upon leaving Marseille, was signed to be the dominant defensive midfielder Villa have lacked in recent years.
Kamara made his league debut for the French side age 18 and became a regular starter in the years that followed, helping Marseille finish as runners-up to PSG on two occasions. He is now just 22 years-old and has already played just under 200 first-team games as a professional, become a French international and performed in the Champions League. Kamara’s signing must therefore be considered a serious coup for Villa, particularly as Steven Gerrard’s side beat Atletico Madrid to his signature.
A DYNAMIC PLAYER
CBS Sports soccer reporter, Jonathan Johnson, told All Villa No Filler that Kamara originally started out as a defender and can still function in that role. He also explained how Kamara was a big factor in Marseille’s recent improvement and that he should make Villa’s midfield look more dynamic.
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At just 22 years-old, Kamara could take time to adapt to the physical rigours of the Premier League and patience will be needed in his first few months. However, he will likely not have to endure the same frustrations as Villa’s other former Marseille man, Morgan Sanson.
Whereas Sanson found it difficult to get into the side ahead of John McGinn and Jacob Ramsey, Kamara’s major competition will be Marvelous Nakamba and Tim Iroegbunam. Nakamba has performed very well at times in the CDM role, particularly during Gerrard’s early games at the club, but he has lacked consistency. With his Champions League experience Kamara should be an upgrade on Nakamba, who can still expect to play an effective squad role for Villa during the upcoming season.
Iroegbunam, Kamara’s other potential rival for a starting spot, is a player for the future. The fact he was recently given a new contract shows Villa rate him very highly. The England youth international has made a few Premier League appearances and shown promise, but a season on loan to gain more experience should serve him well if Gerrard decides that is best for him.
Kamara will almost certainly get the run of games at Villa that fellow Frenchman Sanson has not. Should he adapt quickly to the Premier League Kamara’s presence could well bring out the best in his team mates. He could allow fellow midfielders McGinn and Ramsey to focus more on their progressive play rather than their defensive duties, which might result in more goals and assists for both of them.
Kamara’s defensive prowess could also ensure that both full-backs, Matty Cash and Lucas Digne, have strong cover behind them when they push forward. Full-backs are crucial attacking players in Gerrard teams and both Digne and Cash will be expected to provide numerous assists in the coming season. Using progressive full-backs comes with risks, however, as it leaves space behind which is particularly vulnerable against an effective counterattacking side. Kamara will therefore need to be one of Villa’s most alert players this season and ensure he provides security behind his team mates if they are caught out when an attack breaks down.
SIGNING OF THE SUMMER?
Villa have played a blinder here. Absolutely essential for OM in the past two seasons since moving from central defence to holding midfield https://t.co/wTXc5lgA7C
— Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) May 23, 2022
Leading football journalists were quick to praise Villa for the signing of Kamara. If the Frenchman can fulfil his potential, help Villa break into the top half of the Premier League and push his team mates to improve over the next few years, he could be one of Europe’s signings of the summer.