Aston Villa managed to preserve their Premier League status on the final matchday of the previous season after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at West Ham United. The west Midlands outfit deserved their reward, considering they put in a real shift in the final four games of the campaign where they picked up eight points.
Still, a number of rival fans believe they were lucky to remain in the top-flight after an error in the goal decision system helped them pick up a goalless draw against Sheffield United in June, which eventually proved the difference between safety and relegation.
Villains boss Dean Smith will definitely want to answer the critics with an improved 2020/21 season, but so far, the club have not made any additions to the squad. With still six-and-a-half weeks left in the transfer window, they are bound to strengthen the team. Let’s have a look at the potential targets.
Villa will definitely want to improve their goalscoring exploits next term and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson has emerged as a potential option to bolster the strikeforce. The England international is likely to leave the Cherries after their relegation, but he won’t come on the cheap.
With the parachute payments received nowadays, the Cherries are under no pressure to offload their striker and it is understood to want at least £30m to consider his sale. Villa face direct competition from Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur, but are willing to send Scott Hogan in the opposite direction to sweeten the deal (The Telegraph).
Brentford’s Ollie Watkins is another player that has been frequently linked with the Villains this summer. The 24-year-old had a fantastic season in the Championship with 26 goals and he has been tipped to head to the Premier League after the Bees failed to secure promotion through the play-offs.
Elsewhere, the midfield department could be strengthened ahead of next season and Schalke 04’s Weston McKennie is currently on the club’s radar (The Athletic). The United States international has spent the past four years in the Bundesliga, but he is now keen on testing himself in the Premier League.
The Villains happened to suffer a drastic dip in form with the injury to John McGinn at the midway stage of the previous season, and Smith appears keen on adding more depth in the midfield department to deal with such kind of a situation next term.
Meanwhile, a new goalkeeper could be a necessity with Tom Heaton yet to recover from a serious knee injury. Aaron Ramsdale is no longer an option after his move to Sheffield United from Bournemouth, but there are a couple of other names on their shortlist.
Manchester United’s Dean Henderson has emerged as a potential loan target, having impressed for Sheffield United on a temporary deal over the past two years (The Daily Mail). Elsewhere, Valencia’s Jasper Cillessen has been mentioned as a surprise candidate for the number one role.
Villa were the second big spenders (£140m) after Manchester United last season but they only scraped over the line in the survival fight. Their spending should be smarter this time around and it remains to be seen whether they can purchase the right players to take them to the next level.
Jack Grealish obviously remains the most influential player in the squad, but they could potentially be without their club-captain next term. Both Manchester United and Manchester City have been credited with an interest and according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the latter are showing more interest in signing him.
The former England youth international bagged eight goals and six assists in the Premier League last term and he scored the goal at the London Stadium which kept them in the top-flight. His departure could potentially leave a huge void to fill ahead of next season.
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