Was War Horse Libor Kozák the Player to Initially Replace Christian Benteke?

kozak aston villa

Aston Villa’s new warhorse Libor Kozák might have joined the club earlier


When Libor Kozák signed for Villa he admitted to Italian press that Villa had been interested in him and had been in talks with Lazio for two months.

You don’t need to be a detective to see that time period starts at the point the Christian Benteke contract situation seemed to go sour for Villa with the Belgian handing in his transfer request. The time period of Villa’s interest in the Czech forward was also confirmed by Lambert in the post-signing presser for Kozák

“We’ve been on this one for the last few months, trying to bring him to the club, so I’m delighted to get it across the line,”  Lambert told the press.

The Czech forward’s goal-scoring exploits in the Europa League were the main calling card to perk Lambert’s interest, with Kozák getting the golden boot for the tournament with 10 goals. At 6 foot 3 he had the build and power to be the target man Lambert likes to have at the top of his teams – ala Grant Holt and Benteke.

With Darren Bent off the wage bill, it seems the modest price for Kozák was worth paying anyway to a) give Benteke back-up and competition, and b) give Villa a chance to bed him in, if Benteke does leave in a season’s time.

A few Villa supporters thought that the 6ft 5 Nicklas Helenius, albeit not a target man per se, was a player that Lambert was looking to adapt to fill Benteke boots in the long-term, since he has the height, touch and an eye for goal, and perhaps just needed to bulk up.

Lambert described Helenius as a “different kind of player”, which suggests the Dane was always brought in by the Villa boss to add variation and to supplement the attack.

It terms of being a focal point or ‘target man’, Kozák certainly has the power and heart, as Serie A pundit Matteo Bonetti alluded to in a tweet, MOMS mentioned in a lowdown on the striker.

“Big bruising Lazio striker Libor Kozák. Never met a face he didn’t like to plow his elbow into. Will do great,” tweeted Bonetti.

As we can see from the above picture of Kozák from a Lazio vs AC Milan game, he certainly likes to get amongst it. And it doesn’t seem to be a one-off.

“Libor Kozak finished fifty percent of the games he plays in with a bloody gauze wrapped around his forehead,” Bonetti also tweeted.

Don’t believe him? Here’s a picture from a Lazio game against Siena…


libor kozak aston villa
Kozak in the wars again against Siena

Oh, and here’s one from a  Europa League match against Panathinaikos…

kozak aston villa
A minor flesh wound isn’t going to stop Kozák  from scoring


After Ciaran Clark was taken off with a head injury in the first week of the season, it looks like Villa could get Kozák to fill-in at centre-back too, since blood and mild concussion don’t seem to even register as pain to him!

In a team full of youngsters, an old-fashioned War Horse could be just the ticket to add a bit of toughness to an emerging Villa team. UTV


Follow MOMS on Twitter@oldmansaid



  1. Walker JN Yeah, it’s very easy to get carried away with new signings, expecting them to be world beaters. You mention Vlaar, it was the club’s marketing department that were more than happy to push Vlaar’s ‘Concrete’ nickname out there – before he had even played a game in a Vila jersey. It put a bit too expectation on him. Let the supporters decide nicknames and give the players a chance to settle. Although…saying that, we’ve just called Kozák a ‘war horse’…what happens if he’s a big wimp, who’s head is always bleeding?! ha

  2. StaunchVilla I’d add Graham Taylor’s team ’89-90 to that list. If they can get some early wins this season, it will definitely get the supporters to believe again.

  3. We’re getting closer to a team that will make an impact and build a wall. Kodak is well suited to our game and league and will be similar to Niall Quinn, a more solid Crouch or a fitter Grant Holt, so brings goals, makes defenders fear his presence and opens up space for others to run through. This is as exciting a team as BFR’s in 91-93 and RS in 78-82….loving it!

  4. It will be good to have a pair of tough strikers to bully against team with tough defenders like Liverpool and Chelsea. Plus it will help in set pieces 🙂

  5. Good business if he’s really got the potential and is the same style as Benteke.  If Benteke has another good season it will be very hard to keeo him next summer and even harder to resist 50 million for him!  A ready made replacement remove the probability of clubs demanding extortionate fee because they know we have money to spend!  If he has the potential.  A year ago we were thinking that Ron Vlaar was the next Martin Laurssen and who the El is he? was actually somebody.  The jury is out!

  6. I like the Italian’s comments about elbows. It is about time we had a horrible bastard of a forward like Alan Shearer was towards the end of his career. I want to see opposition centre backs go pale when Benteke goes off only to be replaced by another brutal hulking monster. It’s been a long time since we had players that were physically intimidating. Can’t wait to see him in action.

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