Aston Villa are reportedly interested in signing Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January and the Frenchman could be Steven Gerrard’s answer to Erling Haaland.
According to French news outlet Jeunes Footeux, Villa are interested in signing the former Celtic man in the January transfer window, as Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings continue to struggle in front of goal.
The Frenchman could be available at a cut price in the new year, as his contract is set to expire at the end of the season but it seems as if Gerrard is keen to bring him in as soon as possible, rather than waiting until the summer when he could potentially be signed on a free transfer.
Villa’s goalscoring woes were clear to see last weekend as they failed to find a way past a Leeds United side that played with ten men for most of the second half, so it is no surprise to see them linked with an experienced goalscorer such as Dembele.
Since joining Lyon, the 26-year-old has contributed 69 goals and 18 assists in 151 appearances, including an impressive 21 goals in Ligue 1 last season.
Watkins and Ings meanwhile, would manage just 18 goals between them in the Premier League last season and have one each so far this term, so having a more clinical option in attack could be the key to the Villans turning their disappointing start to the season around.
Should he make the move to Villa Park, then he could prove to be Gerrard’s own version of Haaland, who has been a sensation since swapping Borussia Dortmund for Manchester City in the summer, scoring a remarkable 20 goals in all competitions for Pep Guardiola’s side.
According to WhoScored, both Haaland and Dembele‘s main strengths include finishing and headed attempts, while FBref indicated before this weekend’s matches that the duo were alike as per their ‘similar players’ model.
Indeed that can be seen in their statistics, which show that both the Manchester City star and Lyon forward score above the 90th percentile for non-penalty expected goals, total shots and touches in the attacking penalty area when compared to other strikers in the top five leagues, numbers that would indicate they are exceptional penalty box poachers.
Last season saw Haaland and Dembele register very similar numbers in terms of non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes (0.61 vs 0.62), shots per 90 (3.49 vs 3.43) and key passes (24 vs 22) – demonstrating that their style inside the area and from a creative standpoint are very much alike.
All of this emphasises that Dembele has the potential to be a real success in the Premier League and while he is unlikely to score as many as Haaland, the stats suggest that he could be a clinical option for Gerrard in Villa’s side, so NSWE should definitely look to bring him in during the January window.