Steve Bruce this week confirmed further updates in regards to the injury of striker, Jonathan Kodjia.
The news was far from what Villa fans wanted to hear as it was confirmed that the Ivorian striker will miss the majority of the season with surgery required on the same ankle that was broken at the end of last season. Early estimates suggest a return wouldn’t be until around the end of April 2018.
Last week I suggested a loan move for Charlie Austin and again the Southampton striker was kept on the bench until late on in their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool.
This week I’ve tried to look at other potential incomings in January.
Apart from the obvious exaggerations of Lionel Messi and the likes I’ve tried to assess the top five players that could realistically be seen in Claret and Blue in the New Year from the many options that fans have suggested on both forums and social media. Some may surprise you and I’ve tried to base them on a combination of value to the team, price, chance of signing and the majority are loan options.
The idea of offloading players is not as easy as it sounds either. Many fans have expressed desires to see Ross McCormack leave and others have mentioned Scott Hogan. Both to build up some funds to buy. However an injury to Hogan and Ross McCormack’s soap opera will pretty much put pay to any sizeable sales. Not to mention their form. McCormack’s goals in Melbourne have all been from dead ball situations and some of the comments regarding his open play coupled with the news this week that he has been suspended for being late to training seem to point to a dead end. Hogan’s lack of playing time, goals and repeated injuries may highlight a player that just isn’t destined to fit in at Villa Park.
So money will be tight and we have seen results ground out over the last week, therefore positivity and support is a key consistency not to be forgotten in terms of importance.
Top Five Incomings wishlist
5 – Alredo Morelos (Permanent)
The Colombian striker arrived at Rangers for just over £1million from HJK Helsinki and boasts an impressive goal scoring record. Morelos has been previously linked and boasts pace and skill and also can play out wide if and when required. He has scored 8 in 16 domestic fixtures and also boasts an emphatic record for Colombia U20s scoring 7 times in 6 appearances.
4 – Shane Long (Loan)
Another Southampton striker with a good reputation from many other professionals. Long recently missed out on World Cup qualification with Ireland and has experienced a bit of a goal drought so confidence and consistency is needed. Long would be difficult to entice but if it could be done he would offer at lot within the Championship. Experience, pace and a direct style would all help to release some of the pressure of Keinan Davis.
3 – Benik Afobe (Loan)
The Bournemouth striker has failed to scored in the Premier League this season and has found it hard to get into the first team regularly with the likes of Callum Wilson, Jermaine Defoe and Josh King all fighting for a starting berth in the team. Afobe knows the Championship well scoring 22 in 46 for Wolves which earned him his move to Bournemouth following their promotion. A spell starting for Villa could suit both parties.
2 – Danny Ings (Loan)
Currently at Liverpool, Ings has been unfortunate with two knee injuries that have meant he has only played for the Liverpool first team six times since 2015 scoring twice. Ings fired in 21 in 40 appearances for Burnley in their promotion season and followed this up with by notching double figures the following year. With his injury woes hopefully behind him, Ings would be an impressive capture but again a permanent option would be a non starter. Ings scored four a few weeks ago for Liverpool U23s vs Bristol City.
1 – Sam Johnstone (Permanent)
Now this one is a bit left field as we can’t actually sign Johnstone until the summer, but the current number one at Villa is becoming invaluable and other clubs are appearing to take notice. Villa should do everything possible to work on securing Johnstone to give the team a consistency in possibly the most important position on the field. This week Leeds have again been linked following a host of Premier League teams. Promotion will be the biggest factor but Villa should be thinking ahead and looking quickly to tie him down.
There were many other options I read and heard during phone ins this week and I completely understand the idea of youth players coming through. But it can’t be underestimated how important experience will be in a pivotal and defining part of our season. Davis has shown maturity beyond his years in leading the line but the fact is we need depth and goals.