Aston Villa mustered just their second Premier League win of the season in their last outing, with a 1-0 victory over Southampton easing the mounting pressure on Steven Gerrard heading into the international break.
There were huge levels of anticipation before the season started, with Johan Lange and Gerrard working well together to bring in a number of quality players. Indeed, the likes of Boubacar Kamara, Diego Carlos and Philippe Coutinho all arrived at Villa Park on permanent deals this summer.
These signings didn’t automatically translate into excellent performances, however, with Gerrard’s side winning just once from their opening six league matches.
And, with the 42-year-old having just two senior strikers to call upon in Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins – who have scored only three goals between them all season – missing out on signing a centre forward in the summer could come back to haunt the club.
Villa have been linked with Gabriel Barbosa for close to a year, with 90min reporting that the Midlands side were keen on signing him midway through last season.
However, a move ultimately did not materialise, and with the Brazilian highly impressing over the last few seasons with Flamengo, the Villa Sporting director must be red-faced after deciding against a move for the Brazil international.
Barbosa moved from Inter Milan to Flamengo on a permanent deal in January 2020 and has scored for fun during his spell at the club.
The 26-year-old has netted a truly staggering 109 goals in just 178 matches, leading the team to the Brasileirao title in 2019 and 2020, as well as scoring two goals in just three minutes to help secure Flamengo’s first Copa Libertadores title for over 40 years back in 2019.
Brazilian icon Zico has lavished praise on the player, saying: “I think Gabigol has everything to be the greatest striker in Flamengo’s history. It’s getting there. His performance got better and better, consolidating himself as one of the greats.”
There’s no doubt a move to the Premier League could take his performances to the next level if he was utilised correctly.
His performances are certainly showing Aston Villa what they are missing, and with Gerrard having to rely on Ings and Watkins for goals, it would appear an extremely wise move for Lange to regitnite his interest come the January transfer window.