Aston Villa: Five Strikers To Make Club's Front Line Fearsome Again
Although Emile Heskey has had a mini revival of form it is fair to say it's not enough to carry the team through the season. John Carew is past his best and rarely completes 90 minutes anymore, Gabriel Agbonlahor has problems staying consistent throughout an entire campaign, Nathan Delfouneso isn't ready and Ashley Young, who does chip in with goals will always create more than he puts away.
These problems were known towards the end of last season but due to the manager merry-go-round in the summer nothing was resolved. Now that O'Neill has been replaced by Houllier chances are Villa fans can expect to see a few more foreign names on the team sheet (not a bad thing at all) so following, is a list of strikers the Villains can hope to entice to the West Midlands.
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Current Club: Lille (France)
Potential cost: £8-10 million
Using his links and knowledge of the French game, Houllier could spring for the speedy Ivorian. He's young, quick, powerful and can play on the wing too like Agbonlahor. At the price Villa would be expected to pay it would be a sound investment, adding more trickery to an attack with Ashley Young. Randy Lerner may have to be prepared to open the cheque book soon however as Arsenal have also been linked.
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Current club: Tottenham Hotspur (England)
Potential fee: £5-6 million
If he does join it'll be ten years too late but I can't imagine him retiring without pulling on the claret & blue. Another loud mouth on the pitch to lead from the front and he would fit right in with compatriots Dunne and Ireland. He still has the legs and he certainly has the brain, after falling out of favour this season at Spurs Villa could avoid paying over the odds for the services of a more than capable striker.
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Club: Paris Saint-Germain (France)
Potential fee: £8-10 million
The Frenchman is highly regarded in Paris, having started to gain international recognition for his fine form of 23 goals in 50 games for an under performing side. An unknown to a lot in England but is of a similar mould to Carew and Heskey. On the right side of 30, the 6ft4 frontman would relish the crosses provided by Young, Downing and the exciting Albrighton. Would be a capable replacement for John Carew who has been linked out of Villa Park lately.
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Current Club: Manchester United (England)
Potential fee: £3-5 million
Still a valuable player in the premier league, probably would have joined Villa in 2009 had Man Utd not came in for him. Still has injury problems and could be a major risk but having partnered Emile Heskey at Liverpool under Houllier he could be tempted to link up with them again in an attempt to regain the fine form he once displayed. What is unknown is if Sir Alex Ferguson still has plans for him, time is not on his side but he has a wealth of experience that any young striker would be privileged to learn from. He is also still harbouring hopes of making his way back into the England squad and with all the English talent on show at Villa Park he'll be under the watchful gaze of Fabio Capello a whole lot more.
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Current club: Panathinaikos (Greece)
Potential fee: £7-10 million
Another former charge of Houllier's, having paid Auxerre £14 million for him back in 2004. His two year spell on Merseyside was blighted by a broken leg but he's gone on to recover his career superbly. A striker who has scored wherever he's played, currently bagging 28 in 33 for Panathinaikos. He would probably welcome a return to the Premier League as he also has international aspirations and would act as the hungry goal getter Villa have been missing since Dion Dublin.