Borja Baston signed for Aston Villa from Swansea City on Deadline Day, as confirmed on the club’s official channels, and he could have a big role to fulfill.
It was vital that Villa brought in strikers during the January transfer window, due to Wesley’s season-ending injury and Jonathan Kodjia’s exit.
While Mbwana Samatta has also come into the club, joining from Genk, it was still important for Villa to get another body in to play in the forward areas.
Baston turned out to be the man for Dean Smith’s side, as he joined for free in the late hours of Deadline Day. The move may be low risk, but an improvement needs to be made for a genuine impact to be felt.
Wesley was not necessarily much of a goalscorer for Villa before getting injured, as signified by the fact that he went 12 Premier League games without recording a single goal or assist at one stage.
However, the Brazilian was still able to make an impact in his general play, winning 3.3 aerial duels per game, which was a big part of his hold up and link-up play.
In addition to that, he averaged 0.7 tackles, 0.5 key passes and 0.6 dribbles, which shows that he could have a general say on the game’s proceedings.
The big part of this in which Baston will need to improve is his number of aerial duels won, as the Spaniard has only recorded 1.9 per game.
Considering Villa play with a front three, having somebody who can win multiple aerial duels regularly will be useful in bringing teammates into the game – Jack Grealish is an obvious beneficiary of this.
Although Samatta scored with a header against Bournemouth, he only managed to win one of his five aerial duels on debut versus Leicester. Thus, the indication is that Villa will be relying on Baston to step up in this regard if Wesley’s aerial presence is to be replaced.