Kodjia handed Villa lifeline

Aston Villa
Boss Dean Smith says Jonathan Kodjia remains a key player for Aston Villa and the club have not had any offers for him this month.

Dean Smith insists striker Jonathan Kodjia can play his part for Aston Villa over the course of the remainder of the season.

The forward is due to fall out of contract at Villa Park at the end of the season and has been tipped to depart in January, with clubs in Qatar and Turkey interested in snapping him up in the winter window.

Kodjia has only managed 20 minutes of Premier League football this season due to both ankle and cheekbone injuries.

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The 30-year-old is now fit and has been included among the substitutes in Villa’s last two games but hasn’t been called upon.

Kodjia is likely to be named on the bench again when Villa take on Manchester United on Sunday and manager Smith says Keinan Davis’ injury could see Kodjia handed a few more chances in the weeks ahead.

“He’s got an opportunity now because Keinan got injured,” said the Villa boss, who signed a new four-year deal this week.

“What he’s got to do is be ready. He’s trained really well over the last three or four weeks and has looked like the old Jonathan Kodjia I know.”

Kodjia managed nine goals in the Championship last season and Smith has urged the striker to make the most of his chances when they do come along.

He added: “He needs the opportunity to go and do that but, when he’s given that, he must know he must take that.”

Smith has been linked with a few strikers in the build-up to the January window but if Kodjia does get a few opportunities over the next few weeks there is a chance the club will open discussions over a new deal with the forward.

However, should Smith manage to land a forward in the winter window and Kodjia doesn’t agree fresh terms the club are likely to be open to offers.

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