Steven Gerrard bolstered his Aston Villa squad with some much-needed quality during the summer transfer window, with the likes of Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos and Leander Dendoncker arriving in the Midlands.
However, with just Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins remaining as Gerrard’s two senior centre-forward options, it looked like the manager made a blunder by not bringing someone else in for some competition. Nonetheless, he could well have a secret weapon in youngster Cameron Archer, who can be the perfect heir to Watkins.
The 20-year-old has already scored four goals for the Villa first team, all coming in the Carabao Cup last season, but he still boast a mere nine senior appearances for the club and has featured for only 17 minutes so far this term.
Archer joined Championship side Preston North End for the second half of the campaign and enjoyed a solid spell in the second tier, scoring seven goals in 20 appearances to hint that he has what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
Preston manager Ryan Lowe wanted the youngster to remain at the club for another season in order to give him more game-time and develop the player to become a leading Premier League star.
He even compares him to a modern legend of the top flight, saying: “I think he is a Premier League player because he’s a goal scorer – a Jermain Defoe type.”
With Defoe scoring 321 goals for club and country during his wonderful career, he’s certainly not a bad player for a striker to have as a reference point. Also, Archer will be able to continue his development under Gerrard, who played with Defoe for England.
Journalist Ashley Preece described the Villa hitman as a “goal machine” following another strike for Preston last season, and if he continues like this, there is no doubt that the 20-year-old can succeed in the Premier League.
With Villa only scoring five goals in six league matches so far this season and the clubs only strikers Watkins and Ings netting three goals combined, could it be time for Gerrard to introduce Archer in a more prominent first-team role soon?
Only time will tell, but if their struggles continue in front of goal, the 42-year-old might have no choice but to throw the youngster into action, and it could be the making of the player.