Aston Villa, back in the big time after a short absence, have dropped into the relegation zone after the weekend’s 6-1 pasting by Manchester City, and have a massive battle on their hands in the remaining 16 games of the season to avoid going straight back down to the second division.
Undoubtedly helpful in that quest would be a center forward (or two) who could score a few goals, a la Tammy Abraham during last season’s promotion campaign in the Championship. Unfortunately for Villa, they’re fresh out of such players, with big-money summer signing Wesley ruled out for the foreseeable future with an ACL rupture and none of the other recognized strikers on the team scoring at all. Wesley may not have been setting the league on fire with just 5 goals in 21 league appearances, but his backups, Jonathan Kodjia and Keinan Davis have a grand total of 0 goals in 12 combined appearances. Not great. (Jack Grealish leads the team with 6.)
Since losing Wesley two weeks ago, Villa have been feverishly trying to secure a replacement, and according to a rundown from The Athletic, two of the first names they sounded out were Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi. But, as we can also probably deduce from the lack of related news or even rumors, neither Chelsea striker was too keen on joining the Villans.
Per the report, Giroud prefers the bright lights of a title fight in Milan over the dim lights of a relegation battle in Birmingham, while Batshuayi rejected the prospect of a move to England’s Second City out of hand. And with Villa signing Danny Drinkwater on loan in the meantime — reaching the allowed maximum of 1 loan player from another Premier League club — any prospect of move in the remaining two weeks of the winter transfer window would require Villa to “break the bank” in transfer fees.
With Giroud’s move to Inter practically a foregone conclusion (just waiting for all the jigsaw pieces to fall into place like the best Radiohead song), Batshuayi looks set to handle the backup striker responsibility at Chelsea for the rest of the season. Based on his recent performances, that’s not too confidence-inspiring, but Michy’s a quality finisher who’s come up big before and that’s generally about as much as you can hope from a nailed-on backup. Chelsea will most likely try to improve that situation in the summer, but for now, we’ll have to make do with what we’ve got.
Meanwhile, good luck to Villa and their assistant coach John Terry (and Tenacious Double D, too) in their relegation fight.