Liverpool cult hero, Leeds target named on Villa forward shortlist


A Liverpool forward famed for his timely goals and a Championship sensation linked with Leeds have been cited on a three-man shortlist to bolster the attack of Aston Villa.

Villa staved off relegation on the final day after more heroics from club captain Jack Grealish.

The playmaker shone brightly in their return to the Premier League. But Villa’s reliance on Grealish in front of goal typified their struggles up top.

Grealish top scored with eight, with recognised forwards Wesley and Mbwana Samatta providing a mere six goals all campaign.

Forward reinforcements have been identified as a priority for Dean Smith this summer, and Villa will back their manager financially.

The Mirror report that Villa are ‘preparing to splash the cash’ in order to prevent the problems faced this season.

A three-man shortlist is cited in the report, with the most eye-catching name that of Liverpool favourite Divock Origi.

The Belgian, 25, has rarely enjoyed an extended spell in The Reds’ first-team, yet his impact has been there for all to see.

Origi has become known for scoring timely goals, including a late Merseyside derby winner after a Jordan Pickford error.

Origi also notched twice in the Champions League semi-final comeback versus Barcelona, and proceeded to score once more in the final against Tottenham.

Origi Liverpool TEAMtalk

But with Liverpool’s famous front three already firmly established, Origi could look for a move in order to enhance his Belgium aspirations through regular first-team football.

Brentford frontman Ollie Watkins is the second player listed, who has also become a target for Leeds and Crystal Palace.

Watkins fired 25 goals in the second tier this season, and numerous bids are expected to emerge following The Bees’ play-off heartache.

Watkins Brentford TEAMtalk

Finally, Werder Bremen winger Milot Rashica could be available after being left out of his side’s friendly at the weekend.

The Kosovo star, 24, provided eight goals and five assists in the Bundesliga last year. A fee of £22m is cited as being required to force his exit from Bremen.


Klopp phone call pivotal in Kostas signing

The message from Klopp to new Liverpool man Kostas Tsimikas that proved pivotal in his signing has been revealed.

Norwich full-back Jamal Lewis had emerged as a target, but The Mirror claim Liverpool baulked at The Canaries’ £20m valuation.

Attention therefore turned to Olympiacos defender Tsimikas, with an £11.75m deal going through last week.

Now, according to The Mirror, Liverpool boss Klopp personally rang the 24-year-old to deliver assurances regarding his importance and inclusion.

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