Smith optimistic on Villa’s hunt for attacking reinforcements

Aston Villa

Dean Smith hopes he will have a new striker in time for Aston Villa’s trip to Brighton on Saturday.

Summer buy Wesley is out for the rest of the season and manager Smith had hoped to have brought in a new frontman before Villa’s 6-1 mauling at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday.

The Villans were unable to get a deal over the line ahead of that game and Smith now wants to secure a centre-forward before the trip to Brighton, although he says his side will be able to cope even if no new faces arrive.

“If we don’t [sign a striker] then I have to cope with it,” he said, as reported by the Birmingham Mail. “That’s the name of the game. I know how hard the people above me are working to try and get players in and I know how hard this market is to work in.

“If we get one in, brilliant, if we don’t then we will cope.”

Villa have been linked with a number of strikers in recent weeks including Leicester’s Islam Slimani, who is currently on loan at Monaco, Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, Middlesbrough forward Britt Assombalonga, Burnley’s Jay Rodriguez and Chelsea pair Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi.

Fulham are unlikely to be interested in offers for Mitrovic as they are pushing for promotion to the Premier League. A deal for Slimani would be complicated given he is on loan in France for the season. Burnley boss Sean Dyche has stressed the Clarets have no intention of selling Rodriguez and the Lancashire club would be reluctant to sell a player to a direct rival in the January transfer window.

Boro have played down speculation involving Assombalonga and he has no previous experience in the Premier League. Chelsea’s Giroud or Batshuayi may be interested in moves to Villa Park but the duo appear in no rush to make decisions over their respective futures and it remains to be seen if Smith will have a new striker on board by the time his side head to Brighton.