Ezri Konsa: New long-term contract is a signal of intent from Aston Villa

Tom Gott
Apr 2, 2021, 10:00 PM GMT+1
Ezri Konsa has signed a new Aston Villa contract
Ezri Konsa has signed a new Aston Villa contract | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Aston Villa's transfer business has been rightly praised to high heaven over the past few years, but one of the best deals they have done could be tying centre-back Ezri Konsa down to a new contract.

The 23-year-old, whose previous deal had just two years left to run, has been one of the Premier League's top defenders this season, and the fact that Villa boast the third-best defensive record in the division can be largely attributed to Konsa's form.

Liverpool and Tottenham have been paying attention to Konsa's form in recent months, and with his deal slowly winding down, their interest would undoubtedly have scared Villa's top brass. But the club have now done away with the rumours by confirming on their official website that Konsa is now under contract until 2026.

For Villa, it means they have preserved his enormous value, which deserves to be higher than it currently is. Once he picks up his long-deserved first England cap, Villa can add another zero to the price tag.

As far as English centre-backs go, Konsa has been among the best in England this season. There's no denying that Manchester duo John Stones and Harry Maguire deserve their spots in Gareth Southgate's setup, but behind them, it seems like a straight shootout.

Gareth Southgate
Southgate should be watching Konsa closely | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

During this international break, it was Villa team-mate Tyrone Mings who got the nod alongside Wolves' Conor Coady. Utility man Eric Dier was also there, but that's surely because he's comfortable in midfield too and not because Southgate actually believes he's one of the best English defenders around.

It's the inclusion of Mings which raised a few eyebrows, not because the towering defender isn't worthy of a spot, but rather because it means Southgate has been watching Villa closely and has somehow decided that Konsa isn't ready.

Konsa offers something different to a lot of England's current crop of defenders. He's composed and prefers to bide his time at the back, allowing him to pick his spots and win tackles at a rate higher than any other English centre-back around.

Working with Chelsea hero John Terry has obviously worked wonders for Konsa, who is on a rapid trajectory towards becoming one of the best English centre-backs around, and there's an argument to suggest he's already there.

Ezri Konsa, Nathan Redmond
Konsa is only going to get better | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Importantly for Dean Smith, Konsa will grow into that star at Villa Park. There are no worries about his future anymore, and even if the big boys do come calling, the fact that he's tied down for another five years means they can extract every penny out of a potential suitor.

Having fought off interest in talisman Jack Grealish last summer, Villa are sending a powerful signal to the rest of the Premier League. No more they will be seen as minnows who can develop stars for other teams.

They mean business these days, and they're only going to get stronger.

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