Why a new forward is a need rather than a want for Aston Villa this summer

Aston Villa are reportedly scouring the market for a new marksman after Wesley and Mbwana Samatta scored just six goals in the Premier League last season.

They spent £30.5m to prise Wesley and Samatta away from Club Brugge and Genk respectively but both failed to deliver at Villa Park.

Samatta averaged a goal every 946 minutes, while Wesley averaged one in every five games before his season was abruptly ended by a knee ligament injury in January.

Only Kevin de Bruyne (136) created more chances than Jack Grealish (91) in the Premier League last season. This further underlines their lack of quality in the final third and suggests that finding a new centre-forward should be the main priority this summer.

Villa have been synonymous with natural goal scorers since the inaugural Premier League campaign. Dalian Atkinson, Dean Saunders, Dwight Yorke, Juan Pablo Angel, Gabriel Agbonlahor, John Carew and Christian Benteke pay testament to that statement.

Tammy Abraham played an instrumental role in guiding Villa to promotion via the Championship play-offs in 2018/19. The England international scored 26 goals in 40 appearances at Villa Park but returned to Chelsea once his season-long loan deal expired.

It was a bitter blow for Dean Smith and his replacements have failed to hit the mark in the Premier League. Therefore, Smith has been heavily linked with Brentford forward Ollie Watkins and Celtic marksman Odsonne Edouard.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – AUGUST 18: Odsonne Edouard of Celtic scores his team’s second goal during the UEFA Champions League: First Qualifying Round match between Celtic and KR Reykjavik at Celtic Park on August 18, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Watkins scored 26 goals in 50 appearances in all competitions last season and has been voted Championship Player of the Season. Brentford narrowly missed out on promotion after losing 2-1 against Fulham in the play-off final at Wembley earlier this month.

Their failure to secure promotion to the Premier League heightened the possibility of a move to Villa Park. However, the Villa hierarchy are becoming frustrated at the lack of progress in talks to sign the Brentford talisman.

Brentford are on the cusp of signing Peterborough forward Ivan Toney for £10m, but the transfer saga involving Watkins continues to rumble on.

Another player who Smith is reportedly targeting is French forward Edouard. The 22-year-old scored 28 goals in 45 appearances last season and has netted four goals in four games so far this term.

He was left out of the Celtic squad for their UEFA Champions League defeat against Ferencvaros on Wednesday due to a slight thigh injury.

Villa are reportedly readying a £30m bid for the former Paris Saint-Germain youth player, although Celtic value him at closer to £40m.

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