Aston Villa have been handed a slice of good news concerning their hunt for a new forward to bolster the ranks, with reports stating a prolific ace could soon be on the move…
What’s the word?
According to French outlet Media Foot Mercato, Villa boss Unai Emery is set to rival Manchester United for the signing of Olympique Lyonnais striker Moussa Dembele, with his club reportedly happy to part with the ace if their demands are met.
The 26-year-old has fallen somewhat out of favour with his French outfit and signed for Atletico Madrid on loan with the option to make the move permanent last year, although the clause was not exercised.
And now Dembele could reignite his career in the Premier League with Villa, who could offer him a platform to star in a central role as the club look to climb the table and return to prominence.
Imagine him & Watkins
The Frenchman returned to his homeland in 2018 when Lyon signed him from Scottish giants Celtic for £19.7m, enjoying considerable goalscoring success before slipping from form recently.
Indeed, despite scoring a total of 69 goals from 156 appearances for his current outfit, Dembele has managed just two strikes this term.
Would Moussa Dembele be Villa’s star striker?
One player that he could bind his skill-set with is Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins, who has suffered something of a slump himself recently.
Watkins has enjoyed fair success in Claret and Blue colours, scoring 30 times and serving ten assists across 92 appearances for his club since his – then – club-record £28m transfer from Brentford.
As per Sofascore, Watkins is enduring a dip in performance and efficiency this year, only clinching three goals and assists apiece across 16 displays.
His average Premier League rating is a lowly 6.64, and with eight big chances missed, he certainly seems to have lost his cutting edge in front of goal.
The previous two campaigns, however, Watkins snatched 11 and 16 goals for the Midlands outfit, and the introduction of Dembele could prove a worthwhile recipe for the success of both respective forwards.
In the 2019/20 season, Dembele’s most productive campaign, the ace scored 24 goals and assisted seven more for his club, and despite dwindling these past few years could indeed reignite his career.
With Watkins’ pace and direct drives at opposing backlines, and Dembele’s tendency to drift outside of the traditional spot for a centre-forward, the contrasting approaches could lead to a multi-dimensional attack that can lift Villa to new heights under Emery.
The reports from France state that Lyon are looking for between roughly £7m-£9m for their “powerful” – as once dubbed by former Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers – player, and a cost-effective move hinting at a return to roaring form could materialise in the near future, boosting the fortunes of the likes of Watkins in the process.