Aston Villa have made a middling start to the Premier League campaign under Dean Smith, producing enough promising performances to suggest that the club will avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
However, they’re not so far clear of safety that they can afford to rest on their laurels. Watford’s poor start to the term has put them on course for the drop, while Norwich could fill the other slot, especially after Villa’s dominating 5-1 victory over the Canaries at Carrow Road. However, the final relegation spot could be filled by a number of teams circling in the bottom half of the table.
Smith has performed solidly in his first campaign in the Premier League, but he could require reinforcements in January. Serie A could provide a solution with a number of talented players reportedly available. Villa already spent significant amounts of money last summer, but to secure their place in the top flight for the next season, moves could be made to bolster their squad.
Here are three players in Serie A that would improve their ranks for the rest of the campaign.
Fabio Borini (AC Milan)
— Premier League (@premierleague) June 28, 2019
It’s a realistic one to start off with. Fabio Borini has spent three seasons with Milan, playing in a variety of roles for the Rossoneri since his move from Sunderland in 2017. The Italian was part of the Black Cats side that was relegated under David Moyes, failing to produce in the final third, although the odds were stacked against him at the Stadium of Light.
However, he has a good work rate and did score important goals in previous seasons for Sunderland to help them beat the drop. Borini would not be overly expensive and would not require a settling in period into life in the English top flight.
Elseid Hysaj (Napoli)
Elseid Hysaj would certainly be an ambitious signing for Villa as he has been linked with moves to Tottenham and Manchester United in the past. Even though Napoli are still one of the leading contenders in the Serie A betting odds for the crown, despite their mediocre start to the term, Hysaj could be on his way out of the Stadio San Paolo.
The Albanian did suffer a fractured sternum in October so he could be off the radar of some sides who need an immediate starter. Hysaj would offer an upgrade on Frederic Guilbert at right-back, offering attacking impetus and a stout physical defender. It would be a statement of intent from Villa to land him ahead of leading outfits in Europe.
Andrea Belotti (Torino)
Andrea Belotti was reportedly a target for West Ham in the summer, although they missed out on his signature, signing Sebastian Haller instead. It would be a pricy move for Villa, who would probably have to break their transfer record to sign the forward for a fee in the region of £40m.
However, at the peak of his powers, Belotti is a fantastic player. He was linked with transfers to Manchester United and Arsenal two years ago, but he was unable to sustain his level of excellence. Belotti has been with Torino for five seasons now and could be looking to make a move to the Premier League to enhance his reputation.
It would be a gamble and a huge transfer to pull off, but one that could save Villa from the drop and re-establish the club as an elite unit in the top flight.