As reported by Birmingham Live, Aston Villa are set to face fresh competition from Wolverhampton Wanderers in the pursuit of Rafael Leao. The Wolves have joined the race to sign the LOSC Lille striker as they look to add more competition to Raul Jimenez next season.
This could be a massive blow for Villa, who have been linked with a moved for Leao this summer. But, is the youngster a viable option for Dean Smith?
Leao is touted as next best thing in Portuguese football
Leao is among the current crop of Portuguese teenagers impressing the onlookers with their performances in top-flight European football. A product of the Sporting CP youth academy, the forward moved to Lille for free last summer.
He made 24 league appearances in the Ligue 1 last season, scoring an impressive eight goals while providing two assists. His contributions in attack helped Lille achieve a second-place finish in the table. The youngster also built a formidable offensive partnership with Nicolas Pepe, who, in turn, has become one of Europe’s most sought after attackers.
Leao has been a regular for the Portuguese youth teams as well, and it’s only a matter of time before he receives his maiden call up to the national side.
Aston Villa’s offensive woes
Aston Villa have roped in Wesley for a club-record fee earlier this summer. The Brazilian is being considered as the replacement for Tammy Abraham, who returned to Chelsea following a productive campaign in the Championship.
That being said, Wesley is inexperienced in the Premier League, thus raising doubts as to whether he will able to settle in quickly at his new club. Hence, Smith will be looking to sign at least one additional forward, and that’s where Leao could come into the fray.
The 20-year-old can provide excellent cover for the offensive duo of Jonathan Kodija and Wesley. And given Villa’s lack of reliable goalscoring options, he is likely to receive the opportunity of making an impact in the Premier League next season.
Is Leao a viable target for Aston Villa?
As mentioned earlier, Leao could fit in well given the current issues in the attacking department for Aston Villa. However, his lack of experience at the highest level of football could make him a risky option, especially if we consider the equally inexperienced Wesley.
Hence, it would perhaps be wiser for Aston Villa to shift their attention towards a more experienced Premier League attacker. It could be someone who can instantly make an impact at the Villa Park should Wesley falter next season.
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