With the departure of Ally Samatta after only eight months at the club, Dean Smith is left with three recognized strikers at the club. Record-breaking signing, Ollie Watkins grabs the headlines, with academy graduate Keinan Davis primarily starting on the bench as last summer’s record buy, Wesley, is still injured after a snapped anterior cruciate ligament sustained in January.
With the latter still stricken in the treatment room, Smith has two fully fit options available to him until the Brazilian is expected to make some form of a return over the Festive period.
As well as this, 19-year-old Indiana Vassilev is on loan at Burton Albion of league one however may be recalled should it become necessary.
In principle, with only a pair of fit strikers in the squad, reinforcements are very much required.
Adding to this point is that a six-month loan deal for a third attacker would then expire in January – around the time Wesley is expected to return. The simplicity of this proposal will only appeal to the club’s hierarchy.
Although, allowing Christian Purslow to loosen the purse strings may be the most appealing option, when in a similar position in January, the Villa bosses opted to spend close to £10 million on the arrival of Tanzanian striker, Samatta. With only two villa goals to his name and a stay lasting only eight months though, new sporting director Johan Lange will be diligent should he opt to bolster Smith’s attacking outlet.
Furthermore, if Villa found themselves in need of a goal-getter up front, new man Bertrand Traoré has fulfilled the role before throughout past playing spells across Europe. The Burkina Faso international has shown goal-scoring prowess already after netting on his debut, against Bristol City.
What has Smith said?
When asked about the possibility of any more recruitments over the coming weeks, Smith gave a response detailing the club’s stance on the squad at present.
“Things change very quickly in football. Our sporting director has got his finger on the pulse and hopefully, we might get one more in and maybe a couple more out.”
“There’s a number of positions still [we’re looking at]. With Ally [Samatta] going out, you look at the forward line but also a midfielder as well. We’ll see if there’s one that can fit both for us.”
With most other Premier League managers settling on their squads for the upcoming campaign, Lange and Smith will be on the lookout for any players potentially on the fringes of their respective clubs and edging for a move away to another top-flight club within the country.
Alternatively, as demonstrated in January, the likeliness of a move for a relatively unknown player from abroad is always a possibility. Johan Lange holds vast experience in the Scandinavian market having spent six years at F.C. Copenhagen and may put his Nordic expertise into practice for Villa.
In the Premier League last season, despite scoring more goals than six other teams in the bottom half, Villa still failed to hit the net on eleven occasions – a statistic Dean Smith will know his side need to improve upon should they wish to avoid another year of threatening, relegation turmoil.