Aston Villa‘s search for frontline reinforcements could take them to familiar territory, according to emerging reports.
French publication Jeunes Footeux has linked the Midlands outfit with a move for KRC Genk forward Paul Onuachu ahead of the January transfer window.
It’s thought that Villa have watched the 28-year-old for at least the last year and whilst he’s under contract until 2024, the Jupiler Pro League side could sell him for around €25m (£21.5m).
If these reports are true, then it’s clear that the hierarchy at Villa Park have not learned their lesson whatsoever, so sporting director Johan Lange may repeat his predecessor’s grisly mistake by pursuing the Nigeria international.
Jesus Garcia Pitarch – or ‘Suso’ as most know him by – twice went to the Belgian top-flight to secure Villa’s next frontman and neither of the signings worked out in the end.
First came Wesley Moraes, who is still under his £35k-per-week contract at Villa. He was signed in a £22m deal from Club Brugge in 2019. In return, he has delivered only six goals from 26 appearances. The 6 foot 4 Brazilian has been sent out on loan three times, including his current spell in Spain’s second tier.
And then just six months later, the Spaniard signed off an £8.5m deal to sign Mbwana Samatta from Onuachu’s current employers, Genk. Across 16 matches, the Tanzania talisman managed only two goals and by the summer, he was sold to Fenerbahce for £3m less than what Suso paid.
Pitarch was sacked by CEO Christian Purslow in the same summer, which should perhaps come as little surprise given just how disaterous those two deals were alone.
Onuachu is likely to follow in their footsteps as few from the Jupiler Pro League have gone onto make a substantial – and quick – impact in the physically-demanding Premier League.
The Nigerian striker has only played in Denmark and Belgium, so it could be too much of a big risk to splash around £21.5m on his signature this winter – irrespective of his prolific and consistent record in both divisions, having bagged 82 goals for Genk across 127 matches.
Despite being lauded as “goal king” by former Wimbledon star John Fashanu and dubbed a “phenomenon” by Genk Chief Executive Officer Erik Gerits, Lange must steer clear of signing Onuachu in January as he could well repeat Suso’s costly transfer blunders.