By Noel Whelan

19th Jul, 2019 | 10:15am

'Brilliant player' - Exclusive: Whelan blown away by new Villa signing after 8-figure fee agreed


New Aston Villa signing Ezri Konsa is a “brilliant player” who has the potential to be a key man in Dean Smith’s new look side, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker explained how he has seen a lot of Konsa in the Championship at former club Brentford and has been impressed by what he has witnessed.

Villa announced the England Under-21 international as their seventh summer signing last week after they agreed a fee of around £12million with Brentford.

“Konsa is a really good defender who can play at Premier League level, no doubt about that,” Whelan told Football Insider. “I’ve seen a lot of him and he’s really impressed me – big, strong, quick and good on the ball.

“Dean Smith really does his homework and doesn’t buy players if they don’t improve his side and fit into the playing style.

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“I really like the signings he has made so far. He has done it in a good way. He’s bought quality players and matchwinners. Most have plenty of experience of English football as well, so shouldn’t need a long time to settle in.

“It’s been thoughtful and smart work, the way Smith has spent the money. The theme is players who understand English football. Konsa is one of those, he will add strength in depth and can be a brilliant player.”

The 21-year-old joined the previously acquired Tyrone Mings, Anwar El Ghazi, Matt Targett, Kortney Hause, Jota and the striker Wesley Moraes, with the Midlands giants subsequently signing Bjorn Engels to take their number of new arrivals up to eight.

Konsa, who signed from Charlton Athletic last summer, made a big impression in his debut season at Griffin Park, starting 42 league matches among 47 appearances in all competitions.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that one of the club’s attackers is in advanced talks to join Merseyside club.