With the sale of club captain Fabian Delph and Christain Benteke on the brink of a move to Liverpool, Aston Villa will have lost two of their most influential players in a matter of a days. Having flirted with relegation last season, many are now asking if Villa could be genuine candidates for relegation next season.
One positive from the sale of both Delph and Benteke is that there is still plenty of time left in the transfer window for Villa manager Tim Sherwood to strengthen his squad. A worst case scenario could have seen the Benteke transfer situation drag on for a number of weeks, but with Sky Sports News reporting that a deal has been done with Liverpool, Sherwood can now look to spend wisely in the hunt for quality replacements.
The Birmingham Mail have reported that Sherwood is interested in the Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson as a replacement for Benteke. Wilson scored 23 times in the Championship last season as Bournemouth lifted the title and secured Premier League football for the first time in their history. With an impressive scoring record, the England Under-21 striker is highly sought after, but it remains to be seen if he can make the grade in the Premier League and with a price tag in the region of £10 million the signing of Wilson would be a gamble. Some Villa fans feel Sherwood should be focussing more on strikers who have proven goal scoring form in the Premier League. One such player is Emmanuel Adebayor who Sherwood utilised regularly when manager at Tottenham Hotspur. Adebayor has fallen out of favour at Tottenham, making only nine Premier League starts last season, and Tottenham would be open to a deal. Another possible replacement for Benteke could be Charlie Austin. Austin scored 18 goals for Queens Park Rangers last season as they were relegated from the Premier League and a £15 million asking price is now well within Villa’s budget. At 26 and with proven Premier League goal scoring ability, Austin is perhaps the striker that most Villa fans would like to see Sherwood go after.
Sherwood has already been busy in the transfer window bringing in Scott Sinclair and Micah Richards from Manchester City and the highly rated Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Amavi from Lille and Nice respectively. It is thought that Gueye could be a ready-made replacement for Delph in the Villa midfield and he was one of the best young midfielders in French football last season. Villa also have a number of quality young players such as Carles Gil, Gary Gardner and Jack Grealish who Sherwood will be looking to utilise more this season coming. With funds still to spend, the acquisition of a quality striker like Charlie Austin is the number one priority for Sherwood and Villa. If they can do this and then mould the squad together that they are building, which appears to be a good mixture of both youth and experience, then they could well enjoy a successful season as they look to belie the 3/1 odds on them being relegated.