Filling the Gap – Aston Villa Transfer Targets

Yesterday, Liverpool lodged a £32.5 million bid for Aston Villa’s star striker Christian Benteke. This fee triggers a release clause set in the 24 year old forward’s contract. This comes on the same day as Fabian Delph drastically changed his mind and decided that he would sign for Manchester City after all.

The Aston Villa captain stated that he was committed to Aston Villa for the long run after Manchester City triggered an £8 million release clause in his contract. This led to Villa fans praising him for his loyalty to the club. Just a few days after, though, and it seems that Delph had a sudden change of heart, and decided his future should be on the bench of Manchester City.

Benteke’s completion of his move to Liverpool seems to be a formality, and this leaves Aston Villa with two huge gaps to fill if they are to stay out of the relegation zone this season. Here, we run down who the major transfer targets should be for the Midlands club after a disastrous transfer market day.

They have over £40 million to fill these gaps, and there are a few options that should be seriously considered.

Charlie Austin

QPR were relegated last season, despite the absolute heroics of star striker Charlie Austin. The Englishman managed to net 18 Premier League goals and was pretty much the only reason QPR weren’t relegated before the final weeks of the season.

With QPR now plying their trade in the Championship, it is expected that Charlie Austin will move on to bigger and better things. Newcastle United are currently the frontrunners in the race for his signature, but with new funds now available for Aston Villa, they should move his haste and hijack this move for one of the Premier League’s star performers last season.

Austin seems to be valued at under £10 million, which looks like an absolute bargain for a home grown player of undoubted talent. At just 26 years of age, he still has a good few years ahead of him, and I think Aston Villa should move for him as soon as possible.

Anthony Martial

This may not be a name that many people recognise, but reports have emerged in the past 24 hours that Aston Villa are planning on hijacking Tottenham’s move for AS Monaco youngster Anthony Martial.

At just 19 years of age, he has already been compared to Thierry Henry after a successful season for Monaco in Ligue 1. He has pace, power, and technique on his side, and is touted to be one of the next big strikers in world football.

Loic Remy

Chelsea signed Loic Remy from QPR last summer in a deal worth just over £10 million. He struggled to get into the first team, with the obvious reason being the presence of Diego Costa and Mourinho’s penchant for playing a lone striker.

But he has proven that he can use his pace and finishing ability well in the Premier League, and has scored 27 Premier League goals in 63 appearances for QPR, Newcastle, and Chelsea.

Arsenal have their eye on Chelsea’s benchwarmer, whilst Crystal Palace are also close to lodging an official bid for his services.

He would probably cost in the region of £15 million, which leaves a lot spare for a Fabian Delph replacement.

Michael Carrick

With Louis van Gaal spending big in the central midfield department since arriving at Old Trafford, Michael Carrick may find it hard to break into the team despite a number of very impressive seasons for Man Utd.

He’s 33 years of age now, and although he says he is relishing the competition I expect that he’s certainly wondering if his future lies at Old Trafford.

He has been one of the standout performers in the team despite the disappointing results of the past couple of seasons, and he could definitely do an excellent job for a team like Aston Villa.

There are no rumours about his departure from Manchester, but I think Aston Villa could do a lot worse than sending an enquiry Louis van Gaal’s way.

Francis Coquelin

The young Arsenal star might be hard to pry away from the Emirates, but he would definitely be worth it.

He managed to break into the first team for Arsenal last season after numerous injuries in the central midfield department. He impressed a lot of people with his dedication defensively and his talent going forward.

Rumour has it that Arsene Wenger is about to offer him a new contract, but it Villa put a good bid in for him then they may have a chance of landing the youngster. A loan deal could be an option as well now that Arsenal’s midfield is back to full strength.

Nabil Bentaleb

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder impressed Mauricio Pochettino last season, and broke into the first team to become a regular addition to the centre of midfield.

He played 26 times in the Premier League last season, and at just 20 years old he has all the potential to become a very good player indeed.

Daniel Levy is notoriously hard to negotiate with, but with £40 million in their locker I’m sure Aston Villa could find some way of getting him to Villa Park this summer.

Conclusion

In my eyes, the striker position is the most important for Aston Villa to replace. Christian Benteke may not be worth £32.5 million, but he is still a huge loss for Villa.

I think they should attempt to sign both Charlie Austin and Loic Remy, which should cost them in the region of £23 million all in. These 2 players would not only replace Christian Benteke, but also improve their strikeforce when compared with last season.

The midfield still needs to be repaired after Delph’s departure though. I think Michael Carrick would be the ideal replacement for him. He’s vastly experienced and doesn’t rely on his pace, so his age shouldn’t be an issue. He could walk into Aston Villa and become instant captain for the club.

I also think Francis Coquelin should be targeted for a loan deal as well.

If they could get all 4 of these signings completed, I think Aston Villa’s squad would be vastly improved from last season.

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