Tim Sherwood believes Tiago Ilori could become a top-class holding midfielder for Villa - but stressed that versatility meant he was an asset in a variety of positions.
Ilori, a deadline-day season-long loan from Liverpool, has been seen in the past as a centre-half.
Sherwood accepts this notion but thinks there's much more to the Portugal international than that specific role.
He told AVTV: "Tiago is a player I have known since he's been at the academy at Sporting Lisbon. He's a player I have known for a long time.
"I wouldn't have taken him on loan if there wasn't an opportunity to buy him at the end of it. I am not interested in developing players for other clubs. I am interested in developing for ourselves.
"If he becomes what I think he can be, he's a good buy at the money we're talking about.
"He's quick and elegant. He's played in four different countries, when you include England. He's had a good rounded development.
"He's very composed on the ball and versatile.
"He can play right-back, centre-back and I see him playing holding midfield as well.
"He's a development project and someone I am very excited to work with."
Sherwood compared the 22-year-old with Liverpool's Emre Can, who has seen action in a series of different positions for the men from Anfield.
And the manager said that versatility is a help not a hindrance for a professional footballer.
He added: "I see him like an Emre Can. He's been successful playing in every position.
"A lot of people say that if you don't nail down one position, it's detrimental to your career. I don't believe that. I believe it gives you the chance to play more minutes.
"I think he could be an exceptional player. He's not there yet. But he's in the right place."
Check out the manager's FULL PRESS CONFERENCE on AVTV.