Libor Kozak Deadline Day Transfer to Aston Villa Boosts Striker Options
Villa confirmed the capture on their official website, handing the Czech Republic international the number 27 shirt, with boss Paul Lambert stating he was a long-term target who the club had earmarked as an important addition.
We need somebody like him as we only have Christian Benteke really as a main target man. He'll take that burden off Christian and he'll add greatly to what we've got...in that area of the pitch where we can hurt teams. Libor's powerful, too, and I'm looking forward to working with him. We needed to bring in someone like Libor to help the overall philosophy to work.
Despite not being a regular starter in Serie A for Lazio, Kozák was the top scorer in last season's UEFA Europa League, with 10 goals from 11 appearances—scoring at a rate of once every 70 minutes in that competition.
With Miroslav Klose in place as Lazio’s first-choice striker, league opportunities were restricted for Kozák who managed barely 700 minutes during 2012-13. While he did not score in that time, he did hit the target with 60 percent of his 18 shots on goal, and created six chances for his teammates.
The vast majority of his league appearances were from the bench, limiting the 24-year-old's ability to make a more significant impact—yet his scoring prowess in continental competition shows he knows where the net is.
Kozák is a physical, imposing striker who will bring plenty of aggression and aerial ability to Villa Park, where he will give Lambert a real choice of attributes in deciding who to partner in attack with Christian Benteke.
Aston Villa sign the big bruising Lazio striker Libor Kozak. Never met a face he didn't like to plow his elbow into. Will do great— Matteo Bonetti (@TheMilanGuy) September 2, 2013
Libor Kozak finished fifty percent of the games he plays in with a bloody gauze wrapped around his forehead.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheMilanGuy) September 2, 2013
While the Belgian is an undisputed starter, Nicklas Helenius, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann all offer a range of skill sets and positional versatility to the attack, to which Kozák is now added.
Villa failed to score in 12 of their 38 Premier League matches last season, and netted only once in another 13 games. Indeed, until hitting six past Sunderland in a win in late April, Villa scored only 36 goals in 34 matches, a major cause of them being down near the relegation zone for so long.
In securing several signings this summer who can make an impact in the final third of the pitch, Kozák being the latest, the Villa manager has taken steps to ensure that such problems will not be a telling factor this time around.
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