After injuries have led to an undecided strike force this term, Houllier’s side have lacked any real threat up front with a solitary figure seemingly changing every week. It is believed that the manager wants to strengthen in the area although he had intimated that this may not be addressed in January. Nevertheless the rumour mill has run riot of late with various front men of varying calibre’s thought to be attracting the Frenchman’s interest. Here we will look at some of the latest names to be linked.
Cisse, Keane, Benzema, Gervinho and Owen to name a few are among the strikers to have been linked to Villa Park in recent times, next up, Frederic Piquionne. A slightly odd link this one as Villa need goals and the ageing French forward seems to have a pretty good knack for not scoring many! Avram Grant brought the 31-year-old to the Premier League with Portsmouth where a tally of 5 league goals in 34 appearances was good enough to warrant a move to follow the manager to West Ham. In his 16 games this term, 4 as a substitute, Piquionne has managed 4 which is a significant improvement on last years goals to games ratio. The lanky front man shows glimpses of real quality but backs them up with moments of a laughable nature having missed a couple of sitters in his time in the Premier League. Piquionne’s current strike ratio of a goal every 274 minutes, or 3 games to you and me, is his best for four years but this rumour seems a bit ill conceived to me.
Remember the name, Nolan Roux! Forgotten it? It’s Nolan Roux, you know him, you love him. No? Well maybe you should. The 22-year-old striker who currently plays with Brest’s, I mean plays for Brest, in the French Ligue 1 has been somewhat of a revelation this term. He has played 2 games for the France Under-21s, scoring 2 goals. He netted 15 league goals to help his side gain promotion to the top league of French football and has five to his name this term. A goal every other game in Ligue 2 has led to a decent enough progression of a goal every 3 this and the striker is sparking interest from a number of clubs. Houllier is thought to be keen on the forward and his links in France are keeping tabs on Roux who began his career at Lens two-years ago.
Pavel Progrebnyak is a no nonsense target man from Russia so I’m sure he’s a happy bunny at the moment. At 6’2″ he is a frightening figure and one that you wouldn’t want to fall out with. Guess what? Stuttgart manager Jens Keller has fallen out with him and now he is learning English in anticipation of a January move. Villa are not amongst the favourites for his signature, with the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham also in the running, but have been linked of late along with Blackburn and Everton. The Russian has 5 goals in 11 games this season including a hat-trick in the 7-0 romp over Burussia Monchengladbach. Pogrebnyak has a similar record to the previous two with a goal every 3 games or so not setting the world a light but any number of goals will do Villa at the moment. In 24 games for his country he has scored 7 times.
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