Leao Hype Train
According to Spanish outlet Super Deporte, Aston Villa have been mentioned in the mix for the highly-rated 20-year-old Lille player Rafael Leao, with Valencia CF thought to be leading the chase.
The Villa connection comes through Suso García Pitarch previously working as the Valencia Sporting Director, when he would have obviously have had an eye on the former Sporting Lisbon academy product.
Suso will no doubt be impressed by the forward’s finishing after scoring eight goals in 16 starts last season at Lille (making a further eight appearances from the bench), since he moved on from Sporting, although will be wary of the hype train gathering pace around the player.
Talk of £25m transfer fees and him being the second coming of Christiano Ronaldo or Kylian Mbappe seem to be a little sensationalist and premature.
Leao certainly seems to have decent pace to break the line, although currently perhaps lacks the all-round game of Villa’s recent striker signing Wesley. Although, at 20-years-old, he’s mooted to have massive potential.
The likes of Porto and Everton are also thought to be keeping tabs on the situation.
Such links further backs up Villa’s recruitment team looking at young and able players to formulate a bright and energetic team for Dean Smith, with players also potentially having a chance to increase in value and provide Villa with potential profit, if they do move on.
It seems likely that Leao is one of the 50 odd players that Suso has been tracking and somebody he’s obviously had an eye on since he was a teenager.
At this stage, it would seem to be a long shot.
Meanwhile, more pressing matters for Suso and Dean Smith remain Villa’s centre-back positions. Talks with both Bristol City for Adam Webster and Bournemouth for Tyrone Mings are on-going.
Regardless of what kind of fire power Villa acquire in the rest of the transfer window, you can’t help think that the main factor that will ultimately define their season will be the quality of their back four unit