‘The 22-year-old has been prolific for the United U-23’s, scoring five goals in their last five games.’
One month until the January transfer window opens and it’s patch up time for an Aston Villa squad with growing injury concerns.
While Mile Jedinak has been added to the list of top-end earners that are in the treatment room, the main concern in the window will be getting in an additional striker to make-up for the £30m+ worth of striking talent that has vanished from the first team – with Scott Hogan, Jonathan Kodjia and Ross McCormack all out of the current picture.
Villa owner Tony Xia has already suggested that Villa will probably just get a couple of loans in during the window.
“You would love to be in a position where you can go and target a centre-forward with millions to spend but we haven’t got that luxury,” said Steve Bruce, in line with Xia’s forecast.
“We’ll have to be a bit creative and see if anyone out there can give us a hand.”
So who are the likely targets in terms of striking talent?
It seems from the rumours doing the rounds that Bruce maybe looking at fostering top club’s younger strikers to work within financial constraints.
Man Most Likely – James Wilson
Manchester United’s James Wilson suffered rotten luck last season, when his loan stint at Derby last season was cut short swiftly due to a knee injury.
Wilson is in a bit of limbo at the moment, when you consider the current attacking talent in the United team, he has to get past. The return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hasn’t helped him either.
The 22-year-old has been prolific for the United U-23’s/reserve team, scoring five goals in their last five games.
Wilson’s brace today secured the United U-23’s a 2-0 win vs Celtic in the Premier League International Cup.
After scoring twice on his United debut, towards the end of the 2013/14 season, despite being around the first team the following season, he had to go on loan to get first team experience.
The fact he’s played 25 times in the Championship for Brighton, scoring five times, would be a plus for Villa, as it suggests he’ll be able to contribute from the off.
There’s a logic to the switch, Wilson with his goals this season for the reserves shows that he’s recovered from any injury concerns, plus Villa’s Director of Football, Steve Round, will know the player from his time at United.
It’s worth keeping an eye open on this one.
Unlikely Man – Dominic Solanke
There have been various reports regarding Liverpool’s 20-year-old striker Dominic Solanke being a potential target.
So far this season, he’s made one start and seven substitute appearances playing a total of 152 minutes for the Liverpool first team in the league, with a further subs appearance in the Champions League.
Liverpool have recently got their mojo back in the Premier League, typified by their 5-1 away win against Brighton this weekend. With European football an ongoing concern and the FA Cup coming up, Liverpool will be keen on keeping a strong squad, so it’s uncertain if they will see any merit of offloading Solanke in the short-term.
Bid Incoming – Chiedozie Ogbene
According to the Irish Examiner, Villa are in the process of tabling a bid for Limerick’s Chiedozie Ogbene.
The 20-year-old scored eight times in 32 games for Limerick in the league, and has reportedly been on various trials with English clubs (including Chelsea) since the league finished in October.
Ogbene, who grew up in Cork after his family moved from Nigeria in 2005 is seen as a ‘powerhouse’ of a forward.
He still has another year on his contract, so financially this maybe the time for Limerick to cash in.
From Villa’s point of view it wouldn’t be an expensive venture getting his services, although there will be competition for his signature by the sounds of it.
Would Ogbene be ready to hit the ground running though?
Considering both his age and fitness, with the Irish league having been finished for over a month.