Aston Villa manager Unai Emery is making moves in the transfer market to get his side firing across all cylinders, and could bolster the forward ranks with a move for Olympique Lyonnais’ Moussa Dembele…
Having already clinched the signatures of left-back Alex Moreno and budding striking sensation Jhon Duran, Lyon’s out-of-sorts talisman could be the answer to the club’s calling for a fresh presence to lead the line.
French publication Media Foot have previously claimed that the French ace is subject to speculation from a number of suitors ahead of the expiry of his contract in June, with the Villans among those that could make a move on a cut-price £8.8m deal this month.
And now, talkSPORT have confirmed that Dembele has been targeted to replace Danny Ings, the Midlands outfit’s centre-forward, who is subject to a prospective transfer to divisional rivals West Ham United, with transfer guru Fabrizio Romano confirming on Thursday that the Hammers had succeeded with a £15m bid.
With Ings out of contract at the end of next season, Emery has clearly decided on parting ways and utilising the incoming sum to freshen up the ranks and bring in a new focal point up front.
And in Dembele, the outfit would yield a gem with a wealth of experience across multiple fronts on the European scene; indeed, the former Celtic, Fulham and Atletico Madrid phenom has flourished for several years, staking his best claim for a leading forward with his current outfit, where he has scored 69 goals from 159 showings.
This season, the 26-year-old has somewhat slipped from form and has only scored twice for his outfit, starting just seven times.
However, a change of scenery could bear fruit for the 25-cap star, with his calibre as a clinical frontal presence unquestionable following several prolific seasons.
Indeed, the £52k-per-week talisman has netted more than 15 league goals across three of the past four league campaigns alone for Lyon, with ostensibly his best term, the 21/22 campaign, leaving him with an average Sofascore rating of 7.11 – an indication of the performance he could bring.
And as per FBref, he ranks among the top 6% of forwards for rate of non-penalty goals and the top 21% for aerials won, highlighting the innate goal-scoring prowess and magnetising presence despite his recent struggle for form.
Once hailed as “unplayable” by former Celtic teammate Leigh Griffiths, Dembele could emulate the success of Cristian Benteke at Villa Park, with the former Claret & Blue sensation an endeared figure with the Villa faithful following his exploits several years ago.
The Belgian behemoth was a notably imposing and physical aura at the tip of the Villa sword, scoring an impressive 49 goals from 101 appearances at the club, and with his stunning 6.5 aerials won over the course of his career, partnered with his seasonal 7.45, 7.25 and 7.08 average ratings over his three terms in claret colours, the similarities between the pair allude to a prosperous spell, should Dembele indeed rekindle his cutting edge in the Premier League.
With these factors in mind, it seems to be a no-brainer for Emery as he ponders over his options on the transfer front, the 51-year-old Spaniard possesses a clear, enticing vision when moulding the team to his own making, and with a foundation of four wins from his first six league matches, the cogs might just be falling into place.