PAUL Lambert has started to overhaul Aston Villa’s defence by snapping up right-back Matthew Lowton from League One club Sheffield United.
Lowton today became the claret and blues’ third summer arrival, signing a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £3 million.
As revealed by the Birmingham Mail on Thursday, Lambert wanted the highly-rated 23-year-old to strengthen Villa’s problem right-back area.
The arrival of Lowton is the first indication that the new manager plans to thoroughly rebuild a backline which has started to creak in recent seasons.
It casts a question mark over Alan Hutton’s future at the club after a less than convincing first season following his move from Tottenham.
**Fan reaction as Matthew Lowton joins Aston Villa
Contrary to reports Hutton has not been transfer-listed, but it is understood he will sit down with Lambert to discuss his future soon.
Lowton, who has made more than 70 first team apperances for the Blades, has two years remaining on the contract he signed last summer.
The full-back who spent the early part of his career on loan at the Blades’ Hungarian sister club Ferencvaros and fits Lambert’s ‘type’, being a highly-rated young and hungry player eager to prove himself on the Premier League stage.
It increases the competition at right-back. Eric Lichaj is a specialist in that position, while fellow Bodymoor Heath academy graduate Chris Herd can also play there.
Lambert kicked off his transfer dealings with the capture of defensive midfielder Karim El Ahmadi last week, to go with winger Brett Holman who was signed by the previous regime.
The new boss, who met the squad for the first time at pre-season training on Thursday, is also believed to be seeking a new left-back and a new central defender to bolster the backline.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who was released at the end of last season, is also set to agree a new deal soon after Lambert offered him a chance to challenge Shay Given for the No.1 spot.