Andreas Weimann: Why Do Europe's Top Clubs Covet Aston Villa's Striker?
Aston Villa have had another season of agony, but certain bright spots have ensured the campaign is nowhere near as dismal as the 2011-12 version under Alex McLeish.
Christian Benteke is the obvious star of the side, while Brad Guzan's emergence from the shadows is also a major talking point among Villa fans.
But another, who has basically come from nowhere, is Andreas Weimann.
He came through the ranks at Bodymoor Heath quietly and scored a vital winning goal against Fulham last season in the 92nd minute—a major factor in Villa's survival.
Paul Lambert has seen to it that the striker's hard work in training is rewarded, and after pouring faith into the 21-year-old, a series of good performances and great goals have seen him become fan favourite.
It's not every day fans devote a precious Twitter hashtag to you, but #ShineBrightLikeAWeimann was a particularly ingenious one that surfaced last week.
Well, first and foremost, he will enter the final year of his contract this summer. His agent is fishing around for interest, and the player took to Twitter to advise fans he has not rejected an official offer.
The reports in the papers about rejecting the contract are not true ! I've always been happy here and talks are still ongoing !!— Andreas Weimann (@andiweimann) February 26, 2013
He's shown a huge attitude for the game and improved dramatically over the last six months; 10 total goals and a pair of crucial English Premier League assists have seen him become something of a go-to guy for Villa. He combines an unbelievable work ethic with an 18-yard prowess Darren Bent would be proud of, and is capable of sticking the ball in the net from anywhere in the box, Adam Le Fondre-style.
But beyond lovable lung-busting runs and hardcore commitment to the relegation cause, what does Weimann offer to the big clubs supposedly circling?
In truth, not a lot.
He is fully enamoured by Villa fans and draws admiring glances worldwide after rave reviews in Birmingham, but take the time to watch him in full and he's limited.
Technical aspects of his game are missing—dribbling is not a strong suit, nor is crossing or hold-up play. He thrives in a two-man striker partnership, and his most productive weeks were alongside Benteke in a 3-5-2 formation, but two-man partnerships are a dying breed.
Of the clubs linked with him, only one (Inter) play with two strikers, and even that is only on occasion. Weimann's future is not on the right side, he merely fills a weakness in Villa's lineup.
Liverpool sprinkled their basic, possession-first philosophy with quality in January, acquiring Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge as the game-breakers, or as Brendan Rodgers would view them, risk-takers.
The aforementioned report in The Metro claims the Reds want to replace a hard-working wide forward (Dirk Kuyt) with another, but that's not a correlation you can draw, and it doesn't make Weimann any better of a fit.
He's a strong finisher and looks great when linking with a striking partner to play off, but Weimann will likely never hone his game to the point where he can lead the line for Dortmund, compete with Luis Suarez, or be the saviour Arsenal fans crave.
It's difficult to see what the top clubs see in him, and they won't be looking for him to be a key player. With one year left on his deal he's a circa £5 million pickup, and is probably being sourced for depth.
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