Aston Villa are reportedly in talks regarding a summer move for Ecuador star striker Enner Valencia, who Unai Emery is a ‘big fan’ of.
Villa’s forward ranks took a hit when they shipped out Danny Ings to West Ham in January. Indeed, the forward is still the top goalscorer in all competitions this season with seven goals.
They did bring in Colombian forward Jhon Duran from MLS side Chicago Fire. However, it might take some time for him to adjust to life in the Premier League – he played eight minutes on debut.
Ollie Watkins has been the favoured option up top for the last few managers. Indeed, he missed just four league games during his first two seasons with the club.
In that time – when he was either playing left-wing or through the middle – he bagged a total of 25 league goals.
Only centre-backs Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa have played more minutes than Watkins this season. He’s been in decent touch in front of goal this term, too.
In 20 league games, the Englishman has scored five goals and provided four assists.
With the onus fully on him after Ings was sold, the club will hope he continues that form for the rest of the season.
Emery wants Enner Valencia
That Villa could use another option up top to take the burden off Watkins is fairly clear. There’s no guarantee Duran will be a star straight away, and other central options have hardly been used.
Emery seems keen to offer Watkins some support and possibly some competition up top. Indeed, the Mirror reports the manager is ‘a big fan’ of Ecuador captain Valencia.
What’s more, Villa have reportedly ‘opened talks’ over a move for him in the summer. His contract at Fenerbahce is up then, so he’d be available for free.
As such, the Villans are keen to offer him a one-year deal, with the option of a second.
Valencia a quality striker
The Ecuador forward spent time in the Premier League with West Ham previously. He wasn’t the most effective, with a highest total of four goals in 32 league games.
However, he’s aged like a fine wine, and has been banging them in at both club and international level of late.
Indeed, in the World Cup, he scored three goals in three games, including a brace in the opener. He’s the top goalscorer in the Turkish Super Lig with 20 goals in 18 games, too.
As such, he’d be a a quality option to add to the Villa side. Watkins would likely still be offered playing time, given he can play out wide as well as through the middle.
What’s more, if Valencia is only to stay at the club for one or two seasons, given he’s 33, Watkins could resume his role as the main option after Valencia’s tenure at the club is over, if he is to sign.