Despite getting Christian Benteke back to his best last season, Tim Sherwood has been rewarded with watching his most prized asset leave. Following Fabian Delph out of the exit door, Benteke is off for the glories of top half football and Sherwood now faces the challenge of replacing his two best players.
The Belgian centre forward was the focal point of Villa’s side and the rebuilding progress is crucial if Villa are to avoid the crisis of relegation flirtation once again. Agbonlahor brought the pace to threaten behind alongside the No.9, so it is likely that the central striker is going to be in the same mould as Benteke.
Whether it will be a recognisable big name or not, Villa are probably best to opt for someone with experience in the league as their reliance on the powerful Belgian for goals was significant. Without his goals, Sherwood’s men would surely have been in the Championship by now.
Here are FIVE solutions..
Since QPR’s relegation, Austin has been linked with at least half of the Premier League. Austin was one of the top scorers with 18 in the league last year and was even more prolific than Benteke, in a far less talented side.
The QPR man has the quality to play in the Premier League for years, plus the physical ability to hold his own in the division.
Villa will face stiff competition to land Austin, but his fee would pay dividends when he keeps them in the league next season.
West Brom fans would probably riot in the streets if they were to sell their star man to their local rivals.
However, each man has their price and Villa are comfortably more well off than the Baggies at the moment thanks to the Delph and Benteke sales. Berahino would not offer the physical threat of Benteke, but would allow Sherwood to adopt a different style of play with his pace and versatility.
The addition of Berahino would be extremely costly, but worth it at his age.
Chicharito may be eyeing up a move to a bigger club than Villa, but a move to the midlands could be the best option if he is looking to maximise his number of starts.
His experience at the highest level would be vastly beneficial to a Villa squad that is short on know-how. Unfortunately, the wages could be crippling for the Villans and the Mexican is unlikely to be too keen on the move.
Hernandez’s pace would be quite a threat along with Agbonlahor, making him an ideal centre forward for Jack Grealish to supply passes for.
Aston Villa would not quite fit in with the stature of Balotelli’s previous clubs, but the Italian could be the sort of player that Sherwood would back himself to get into form.
Sherwood managed to get both Adebayor and Benteke into fine goal scoring form and if he could do the same with Balotelli they would be a threat for the top half. Super Mario would be able to slot into the role that Benteke played comfortably, albeit with the ball going to his feet more often.
The Premier League would benefit from keeping Balotelli and he is the sort of figure that could catch the imagination of the Villa faithful.
Dost had an incredibly prolific season in Germany last time around and his goal scoring record has attracted interest from around Europe.
Dost does not offer as much as the other options off of the ball, but if Sherwood could maintain that goal scoring record it would be a simple matter of creating chances for the striker.
The Dutchman would be quite a left-field choice from the Villains, but is likely to represent better value for money.