This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
According to Sky Sports’ Rob Dorsett, Aston Villa’s transfer activity in this window is far from done with deadline day rapidly approaching as it is thought the club could revisit a previous target in Brentford’s Neal Maupay.
What’s the word
Villa boss Dean Smith has signed no fewer than 12 new signings for a combined fee totalling well over £120m – and it appears their business isn’t over yet as Dorsett reports they still have a number of targets in mind.
One of which is Maupay, who Smith knows all too well having been the man to bring the Frenchman to England in the summer of 2017.
Rumours linking Villa to the Brentford ace have been circulating all summer with it likely to rumble on until deadline day on Thursday.
The club have already broken their record transfer fee by bringing Wesley Moraes to Villa Park from Club Brugge for a fee of £22m.
Can ease the pressure
Villa could do with adding another option up front before the start of the Premier League season.
Aside from Wesley, their attacking fortunes lie in the hands of Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan – the former has given the club a decent return in the Championship, ignoring the 2017-18 campaign where he was often absent through injury. He’s scored 47 goals in 139 appearances in the second division and at the age of 29, that may well be his level.
Hogan on the other hand struggled to break into Villa’s squad – making just six substitute appearances – and was sent out on loan to promotion winners Sheffield United, where he also failed to get much game time, starting just five matches. If he wasn’t fancied in the league below then it’s highly unlikely that he will pull up any trees in the Premier League next season.
Villa will need an additional striker to either play back-up to Wesley or partner him up top next season and Maupay seems like an absolutely ideal candidate.
It will be Wesley’s first season playing in England let alone the Premier League, if you add to that the weight of being the club’s record transfer, there will certainly be a lot of pressure on the young 22-year-old – whether he can handle it or not remains to be seen but his transition can be aided by bringing in someone of Maupay’s quality.
Maupay may lack Premier League experience but he has been in England for two season’s now and has shown that he’s capable of adapting to new conditions – in his first season at Brentford he scored 13 goals in 46 appearances which was also his first-ever venture outside of his home country.
The former France under-21 international is a viable option in his own right too – his aforementioned goals return only goes some way in proving that. At 5 foot 7 he would be a nice compliment to the 6 foot 3 Wesley or even as a ‘plan B’ option.