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Aston Villa: Marcus Thuram can be a big Ollie Watkins upgrade

Aston Villa have been handed a fresh boost in their pursuit of Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram.

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As per Oliver Neuville, who is the assistant manager of the German outfit, he expects it will be tough for them to retain their French superstar, who they reportedly value at €30m (£25.5m)

Speaking to Radio Sportiva, relayed by Calciomercato, he said:

“He’s having a great season, he scored a lot of goals.

“I think it will be difficult for him to stay at Gladbach because if he continues to score so many goals it is certain that he will have many offers in Italy or Spain or England.

“You also have to be a bit realistic. I hope he stays here at Monchengladbach, but now he has also been called up by the French national team for the World Cup.

“It will be difficult for him to extend his contract, I hope so, but the chances are slim.”

Watkins upgrade

It goes without saying that Thuram would mark a huge upgrade on Ollie Watkins at Villa Park, with the two actually boasting some similarities.

Blessed with impressive speed for their respective sizes, they offer the aerial threat of a classic number nine, but the turn of pace of a wide man.

That has often led to both of them having featured all across the front line, to varying success.

What sets them apart however is the cutting edge that the Englishman clearly lacks, which has been painfully apparent this season under Steven Gerrard.

In 14 Premier League games the 26-year-old has scored just twice, enduring an eight-game barren run in the middle of this half-season.

This marks a huge drop off from his 11-goal haul last season, made even more significant by the 14 goals he scored during the 2020/21 season too.

Thuram however has already equalled Watkins’ career-best tally in the top flight this season alone, with 13 goals and four assists across 17 games in all competitions.

His incredible form has even led to a call-up to the French national team for the World Cup, although that was spurred on by the injury to Karim Benzema.

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What further sets him apart from the former Brentford forward is just how technically gifted he is, despite his 6 foot 4 frame leaving Saudi Arabia boss Herve Renard to label him a “physical monster”.

He ranks in the top 8% for dribbles completed, offering a show-stopping excitement to pair with his clinical finishes.

In every possible way, Thuram outperforms Watkins, and should Unai Emery manage to get this deal across the line, it would be a huge statement of intent as well as a big upgrade.