As Villa continue to mull striking options having acquired Ollie Watkins for £33m, there is an interesting link to a forgotten star emerging.
It took Villa an age of negotiations to get the Watkins deal across the line, emphasising the challenge of both recruiting and improving a squad that narrowly avoided relegation last term.
After a promising 1-0 win over Manchester United in our final warm-up friendly, Dean Smith will be mindful that the strikeforce remains decidedly light.
Former record signing Wesley has only just arrived back in Birmingham from Brazil as he looks set to continue his recuperation from a dreadful knee injury suffered on New Years Day against Burnley.
Mbwana Samatta failed to set the world alight after joining in January, whilst Indiana Vassilev remains very much a rookie.
Keinan Davis, who despite showing promising technique, failed to find the net as the club lurched perilously close to relegation. However, Villa opted to extend his deal until 2021 and now look set to offer the 22 year old a further 2 years.
If nothing else, it allows Davis’ transfer value to be protected, with the possibility of a season long loan away from B6 not ruled out.
DON’T BET ON BENTEKEEmbed from Getty Images
It’s hard not to get sentimental when it comes to a transfer link to Christian Benteke. The Belgian striker was unplayable at times during a torrid time most supporters spent following Aston Villa, with the striker seemingly taking on the opposition on his own at times.
An impressive haul of 49 goals in a little over 100 appearances brought him to the attention of some of the best sides in Europe. With Villa’s terminal decline, it was inevitable that he should depart to put his career back on the ascendancy.
It all went wrong for Benteke after a big money move to Liverpool, where he failed to recreate any of the form or goalscoring that he routinely produced at Villa Park. To watch him struggle and become derided at Anfield was as perplexing as it was painful.
Add to that a pretty dire time at Crystal Palace and his valuation has crashed. Benteke left Villa £30m+ predator, but he can now be snapped up for just £10m. Indeed, such is Palace’s eagerness to shift his £120,000 weekly wage of their books, there is also suggestion that they would accept £8m.
It’s not hard to see why. Benteke’s recent display at Villa Park was disinterested, ineffective and anonymous but for a pointless sending of at the games climax.
Ultimately, this is why Villa won’t touch a player of this type. Savour the past memories, because the future has to be built upon the likes of Ollie Watkins, Betrand Traore, Milot Rashica and the like.
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