With rumours of a possible B6 return for Tammy Abraham, how and where would the former loanee fit into Dean Smith’s side?
Back in the summer of 2018, Aston Villa needed a target man – someone to rely on, a striker to help return the club to the Premier League.
Tammy Abraham was an emerging talent from the Chelsea FC academy. Having registered 23 league goals for Bristol City in 2016/17, Abraham had been loaned out again for the 2017/18 campaign: this time to a Premier League institution in the form of Swansea City. In a dismal year for the club, the striker scored 5 goals as the team was relegated to the second tier – leaving Abraham in a difficult position.
Chelsea wanted to send their man to another Premier League club in the hope of an improved goal return, however, no suiters enquired about the player’s services.
That meant that on the last day of August, the only offer on the table was accepted. Tammy Abraham moved to Aston Villa for the 2018/19 season.
In short, what followed was an overwhelming success. Not only did Villa achieve promotion, but Tammy hit his highest ever goal-scoring season – 25 league goals!
Despite efforts to sign him permanently post-promotion, Villa refused to shell out on the asking price listed by the London club.
Alternatives were signed, and by deadline day, Abraham was nowhere to be seen at Bodymoor Heath.
New eras were beginning at both clubs and the story had reached its fairytale ending.
Fast forward almost two years and both parties couldn’t be further from where they were in 2019. Aston Villa are now pushing to disrupt the established ‘big six’, whilst Chelsea are using their boardroom might to bring another league title to Stamford Bridge.
Now comes the problem, through their financial outlay, Chelsea have already signed highly-rated German striker Timo Werner. If reports are to be believed, this summer they may push to sign another striker in the form of Dortmund wonderkid, Erling Braut Haaland.
Whilst this situation is still only hypothetical, if the signing of Haaland happened, Abraham would be forced down the Chelsea pecking order indefinitely.
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel made brash comments about where he sees Abraham’s future last month.
“Tammy is the guy who scores in cup games obviously”.
Whether we can excuse this statement for a possible mistranslation from the foreign manager or not, it’s not news Abraham wants to hear. Scoring 15 goals as the blues’ first-choice striker last season, surely he’s proven his worth?
Nonetheless, Villa might look to capitalize on the situation. Whilst he’d be welcomed back at Villa Park with open arms, the question of where Abraham fits into the current squad is troubling.
The first question I thought of when I saw the rumours circulating last week was ‘does this actually make sense?
On the face of it, no.
Dean Smith looks to have found a winning formula with £28 million striker Ollie Watkins playing through the middle as a lone man. Add in a fully fit Wesley (a £20 million signing), and Keinan Davis, there’s no shortage of attacking options in the squad.
Except, Watkins is widely regarded for his ability to dominate wide channels of play – a byproduct of positioning a former winger upfront. If Watkins returned to right-wing, that may open a gap for an incoming Tammy Abraham?
Considering that reports suggested Abraham held an asking price of £50 million when Villa were still in the Championship, the fee expected by Chelsea would be no small hurdle for the Villa transfer gurus.
Despite this, the NSWE group have wielded their powers before. Big money moves have become a fixture of their intent and a forward line consisting of Ollie Watkins, Tammy Abraham, and Captain Jack may tip the balance on sanctioning a move.
The possibilities are mouth-watering, but we can’t stray too far from the fact that, as things stand, Villa remain nothing more than ‘admirers’ of the player. Even though Tuchel left Abraham out of the Chelsea squad to face Manchester United recently, he reiterated that the player must fight for his position at the club.
At 23 years old, Abraham needs to establish himself as a regular for a top division club if he has hopes of adding to his six England caps.
Is Villa Park the place he can finally call home? Only time will tell.