Aston Villa will look to ease burden on attacking stars in transfer market

Villa will prioritise strengthening in attack this summer as they look to build on their impressive progress this season.

File photo dated 27-02-2021 of Aston Villa manager Dean Smith.
File photo dated 27-02-2021 of Aston Villa manager Dean Smith.

Having spent the current campaign challenging in the top half of the Premier League, the club are eager to kick on again next term and make a sustained assault on European qualification.

Planning for the summer transfer window has already begun, with boss Dean Smith targeting another winger and forward to ease the burden on Ollie Watkins and Jack Grealish.

The latter’s future will again be the subject of speculation with Manchester City thought to have the Villa skipper on their list of possible targets.

But Villa are under no pressure to sell and instead want to continue building a team around their talisman.

Smith, who is again expected to have a healthy budget, is keen to lessen Villa’s dependence on Grealish for creativity and a No.10 is likely to be targeted.

Away from the forward line there will also be some focus on increasing defensive strength in depth, particularly at full-back, with both Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor set to be out of contract.

Villa have spent more than £200million since winning promotion back to the Premier League in 2019 and demonstrated their willingness to be aggressive in the market when they signed midfielder Morgan Sanson from Marseille for £14million in the recent January window.

The 26-year-old had originally been on the club’s list of summer targets but they opted to move early and take advantage of the uncertain finances in French football following the collapse of the domestic TV deal.

Villa, currently ninth in the table, travel to Liverpool on Saturday knowing victory would put them firmly back into this season’s race for European football.

Grealish’s availability is again uncertain as he continues to manage the shin injury which has forced him to miss the last seven matches, of which Villa have won only two.

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