The Birmingham Mail’s Ashley Preece has claimed that Aston Villa striker Wesley could leave the club this summer.
What’s the story?
Following the arrival of Danny Ings from Southampton in recent weeks, Dean Smith’s side have bolstered their options going forward, and Preece has now indicated that this could have an impact on Wesley’s future at the club.
He said: “Yep, there’s a realistic possibility of Wesley heading out. I must be in the minority here but I’d like to see him do well at Villa. I was hard on him when he first joined but he was showing signs before he got injured. I think he’ll be loaned out now though; Ings and Watkins will start pretty much every game.
Should Villa let Wesley leave?
“Interesting to hear Smith say Watkins will be a central striker and nothing else this season. I can see Ings as a No.10 at times. There is a need for a striker on the bench, though, knowing Traore/Ghazi played there last week vs Salernitana.”
Dean Smith’s making a mistake
While Ings’ arrival certainly puts Wesley down the pecking order at Villa Park, it’s a bit of a hasty mistake from Smith to let the Brazilian go this summer, even on a temporary basis.
Watkins was a man of steel last season in the Premier League, only missing the one match all campaign, but whether that level of fitness can hold up for a second successive campaign remains to be seen.
Add to that the fact Ings missed several games last season for Southampton with a knee injury, and of course has ruptured his ACL previously, and Villa could be left really short up front if they suffer some misfortune.
A report from The Birmingham Mail recently said: “It has been rumoured that Ings’ arrival from Southampton could see Villa operating with two strikers up front in a 3-5-2 or a 4-4-2 formation this term as the new man plays alongside last season’s great transfer success, Ollie Watkins.
“Playing two up top was used in just 2% of Villa’s games last season, but proved to be effective in games such as the 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion, the 3-0 win over Arsenal and the 3-1 victory over Fulham. The 4-4-2 has been trialled on several occasions in pre-season, most recently in the 3-1 win against Salernitana.”
If Smith does intend to operate with a two-man strike force, he surely needs a back-up centre-forward either as an option off the bench, or as someone he could rotate his main pairing with.
Letting Wesley go without first bringing in another striker would be a massive oversight and mistake on the part of the Villa boss.