Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Unai Emery orders Aston Villa to sign ‘marquee striker’ in January after sanctioning triple exit

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery

It will be a priority for Aston Villa in January to sign a high-profile striker who can compete with Ollie Watkins, a report has revealed.

Watkins is still the main man leading the line for Unai Emery’s side, while Jhon Duran is acting as his deputy. According to Football Insider, though, Emery wants to have another attacker to call upon for the second half of the season.

The report claims he is targeting a ‘marquee striker’, though no potential targets are named. Furthermore, there is no mention of what Villa’s budget might be.

However, it is acknowledged that the summer sales of Cameron Archer to Sheffield United, Jaden Philogene to Hull City and Keinan Davis to Udinese have helped Villa satisfy Financial Fair Play parameters and freed up some funds for a January purchase.

READ MOREAston Villa transfers: Emery plots January raid on former club for €35m Coutinho replacement

So far this season, Villa’s joint-top scorers (with three goals each) are Watkins, Leon Bailey and, somewhat unusually, Matty Cash.

All of Watkins’ goals have come in the Europa Conference League, rather than the Premier League. Last season, though, he scored 15 times in the top flight, which was his best ever return at this level.

There have been reports since the summer transfer window closed claiming that Watkins could be targeted by Chelsea in January. The update from Football Insider does not refer to those links, instead implying Villa want to bring in someone to rotate with the England international.

After all, Duran is only 19 years old and only recently scored his first Premier League goal, so it would be unfair to expect too much too soon from him. Besides, since Villa are competing on four fronts this season, Emery will be eager to have a variety of established options to pick from.