Aston Villa are facing competition from fellow Premier League side Arsenal in the race to sign Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham this summer.
According to The Daily Mirror, Villa are ready to spend £40m to bring Abraham to Villa Park, with the 23-year-old striker being told he is free to leave Chelsea as he doesn’t feature in Thomas Tuchel’s long-term plans at Stamford Bridge.
But now, The Sun have claimed that the Blues are ready to let Abraham join Arsenal on a season-long loan deal with an obligation to buy at the end of it.
Speaking during BT Sport coverage of Chelsea’s Champions League win over Lille, former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand raved about Abraham’s centre-forward play, saying (via Goal):
“His hold-up play, coming to the ball, bringing others into play. There were some balls that came into him that were Didier Drogba-esque. I think he’s developing nicely, he’s scoring goals, he’s scoring different types of goals and I think he’s a threat.”
In his first spell at Villa Park – when he spent a season on loan in the Championship – the England international netted 26 goals in 40 games, as well as providing three assists too.
And, speaking after a particularly goal-scoring display against Swansea, Smith himself said:
“Tammy is a handful and he knows better than me that he should have been walking away with the match ball tonight. But he scored the winning goal, he’s a hell of a talent. Tammy put in a hell of a shift up front on his own and proved he is a fine player.”
Also described as “unbelievable” and “phenomenal” throughout his career, Abraham could provide some much-needed competition for Ollie Watkins up top, and would take the goal-scoring burden off the former Brentford man.
Watkins played an incredible 37 of Villa’s 38 Premier League games last season, and that level of endurance and luck with staying away from significant injuries would be another tall order heading into the new campaign.
Bringing in another quality striker Abraham could prove to be a game-changer for Smith as the Villa boss would know that he’s got someone who he can trust at the Premier League level to lead the line, either as a substitute or right from the off.
The fact Watkins barely missed a minute of football last season is a testament to his fitness, but also a damning indictment on the lack of cover behind him.
Smith could desperately do with someone the calibre of the £34m-rated Abraham, and it’s exactly why Villa need to fend off interest from Arsenal to land him.