Dane’s commanding style to help Aston Villa keep more clean sheets

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Aston Villa may have avoided relegation from the Premier League last season, but it had little to do with their defensive contribution as the club conceded 69 goals in their 38 games.

Only relegated pair Wigan and Reading let in more than Villa last season, while Paul Lambert’s side had the worst defensive record away from home and they failed to keep a single clean sheet in their final 22 Premier League games of the campaign.

Although signing Christian Benteke to a new contract will undoubtedly be the best bit of business Villa do this summer, some new recruits are needed to strengthen the squad.

Lech Poznan winger Aleksandar Tonev has already arrived and next on the shopping list appears to be Danish defender Jores Okore.

Okore was a target of Chelsea in January, but reportedly turned down the switch from FC Nordsjaelland as he wanted greater assurances of more first-team football.

This is something he will certainly get at Villa and Danish defenders have a track record of being a success at the club as Martin Laursen was a clear fan favourite.

Laursen has also spoken positively of his compatriot, suggesting that the Danish league is now “too easy” for the 20-year-old, who is pressing experienced pair Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer for a starting berth in the senior national team.

Strength and pace are Okore’s main attributes and although he needs to make improvements in positional play, he is considered young and keen enough to develop his game.

Playing alongside Ron Vlaar should additionally help Okore come on and ease some of the pressure on the likes of Nathan Baker, who was somewhat thrust into the first team last season.

With Andreas Weimann already signing a new deal, Benteke expected to follow suit and three or four new faces on the cards this summer, Villa are on track to go back on the ascent in the Premier League and it is 13/8 that they finish in the top half next season.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.