According to Sky Sports, Wolves have made an approach to sign Aston Villa’s in-form front-man Tammy Abraham from parent club Chelsea, which would cut short his season-long loan in the Midlands.
It’s an exiting opportunity for the England international who clearly has the potential to be a hit in the Premier League, but it also leaves Villa in the lurch. With 16 goals in 20 Championship appearances this season, he’s vital to the club’s hopes of promotion.
Worst case scenario, Villa will need to bring in a replacement before the end of the January transfer window, but who are the best options? Football FanCast lay out six suggested solutions, and then give Villans followers the chance to have their say…
A slightly left-field suggestion, but what’s not to like about Shinji Okazaki? He’s hardworking, energetic, versatile, experienced and can create goals as well as score them. Perhaps his tally for Leicester City, 19 goals in 128 appearances, isn’t as high as it should be, but his overall contributions always bring out the best in those around him – just ask Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez.
Most importantly, his contract is due to expire at the end of the campaign, so Leicester will certainly be open to parting with the one-time Premier League title winner this month.
Pl>ymaker FC’s Theo Ogden made the 100 mile trip from Bolton to Hull only to see his side demolished 6-0 by the Tigers. Check out his reaction in the video below…
He’s surely the name on everybody’s lips amid news of Abraham’s potential mid-season exit. It was then-Brentford boss Dean Smith who gave Neal Maupay the chance to impress in English football last season and he’s certainly taken the opportunity, bagging 28 goals and eleven assists in 71 appearances for the Bees.
Only Abraham and Billy Sharp have scored more Championship goals than the Frenchman this season and coupled with the fact he’s worked under Smith before, he should hit the ground running at Villa Park. On top of that, at the age of 22 he represents a solid long-term investment.
Fernando Llorente’s time at Tottenham appears to have run its course and while the Spaniard hasn’t been much of a success in north London, he proved with Swansea City that the right kind of service can make him an incredibly effective front-man in English football, netting 15 Premier League strikes in 2016/17.
Throw in solid records for Athletic Bilbao, Juventus and the Spanish national team and there’s no doubting Llorente’s pedigree – the only real issues for Aston Villa are his age, 33, and his possible wage demands. That being said, reports from Turkey have suggested he could leave for just €1million (£900,621), so a big salary could be offset by a minimal transfer fee.
Another powerful elder front-man, this time with a strong track history in the Football League. Leon Clarke is one of English football’s most journeyed strikers, representing no less than 17 clubs throughout his career, but seems to have really found his feet over the last few years, helping Sheffield United seal promotion from League One in 2016/17 before bagging 19 goals and five assists last season.
This term, Clarke has been forced to settle for the role of supersub which has seen him clinch some vital wins for the promotion-chasing Blades. But with Conor Washington, Billy Sharpe and David McGoldrick on the books they shouldn’t have too many qualms about letting Clarke go for a fair price in January.
Wolves’ swoop for Abraham should free up Leo Bonatini for a mid-season exit, and while 2018 has been a simply miserable year for the Brazilian forward, he was one of the key factors in the Midlands outfit’s promotion to the Premier League last season.
Indeed, the 24-year-old notched up 12 goals and five assists before the turn of 2018, but has failed to find the net since and is now surplus to requirements at Molineux with Nuno Espirito Santo’s side pushing for a Europa League spot.
It would be a risky signing considering Bonatini’s poor form and lack of game-time this season – seven substitute appearances amassing to just 130 minutes of action – but if Smith can get the former Brazil U17 firing again he’d be a very useful addition.
Dominic Solanke’s move to Crystal Palace appears to have collapsed and Aston Villa could do a lot worse than trying to pick up the pieces. Much like Abraham, Solanke’s a talented young English forward with a big reputation, although unlike Abraham he doesn’t have a particularly strong scoring record in club football, aside from a seven-goal loan spell at Vitesse.
That being said, 35 goals for England across the junior levels highlights Solanke’s potential and if Aston Villa can facilitate a coming-of-age run of form, he’s got the talent and the youthful fearlessness they need to make a big push for promotion in the second half of the campaign. A loan deal too, makes it far less of a risk if the deal doesn’t work out.
So, Villa fans, which Abraham replacement should Smith swoop for? Let us know by voting below…