Matt Targett ‘surprised’ Aston Villa signed Newcastle United January transfer target
Matt Targett has opened up on the reasons behind his decision to leave Aston Villa and join Premier League rivals Newcastle United on loan for the rest of the season.
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The former Fulham left-back had featured regularly for Villa since joining them in a £14million deal from Southampton in July 2019 and won the club’s Players Player of the Year last season.
Targett continued his impressive form this season and made 19 starts in all competitions during the opening months of the campaign.
However, the January arrival of Everton left-back Lucas Digne saw him named amongst the Villa substitutes for games against Manchester United and Everton in January.
A loan move to Newcastle followed on the final day of the transfer window and Targett made an impressive start to life on Tyneside with a solid display in last week’s 3-1 home win against Everton.
Targett will now focus on playing a key role in helping Eddie Howe’s side preserve their Premier League status as he looks to get the regular first-team football that was the driver behind his decision to move away from Villa Park.
‘Difficult decision to leave Villa’
“It was a difficult decision (to leave),” Targett told TalkSPORT. “Last season, especially, I was the only left-back.
“I knew the club wanted to sign a left-back. But I was quite surprised when they signed someone like Lucas Digne.
“Obviously, he was out there, at the time. The club had to do what they had to do.
“It was quite hard to take to sign someone of that calibre. But if that’s where the club wants to go, then I completely respect that.
“At the same time, I am 26. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench.
“I want to look back on my career and I have played as many Premier League games as I can possible, so that’s one of the main reasons.”
Targett expected to return for West Ham after impressive debut
Premier League loan deal regulations meant Targett was forced to watch on from the sidelines as Newcastle battled to a 1-0 win against parent club Villa on Sunday afternoon.
However, he is expected to regain his place in Eddie Howe’s starting lineup when the Magpies visit West Ham United on Saturday lunchtime.
Speaking after Targett made an impressive debut in the home win against Everton, Howe said: “He’s a very level-headed and calm person – he defended really, really well.
“Matt, I thought, was excellent. Very, very strong performance.
“The biggest compliment I can pay him is that it looked like he’d been part of that back four for a number of years.
“I thought his positioning was very good, his use of the ball was good. Very pleased with him.”