Thursday, December 1, 2022

Aston Villa Striker Keen On A Return To His Former Club This Summer: What Should Be Smith’s Play?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by Sport Aragon (via Sport Witness), Aston Villa striker Borja Baston has been identified as Real Zaragoza’s number target for the summer transfer window. The same source has also hinted that the Villans centre-forward is keen on a return to his former club where he played on loan and enjoyed some of the best football of his playing career. It has been reported that the Spaniard has been offered a four-year contract when his current deal at Villa Park runs out later this summer (via Sport Witness).

How Has Borja Performed During His Time In England?

With Villa facing the real possibility of being relegated from the Premier League this season, it is no surprise that Borja wants to jump ship when he becomes a free agent. However, the fact that the West Midlands club are potentially risking losing him for free doesn’t bode well for them financially, especially under the difficult circumstances they face due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spanish frontman had a decent goal-scoring record in the EFL Championship after scoring six goals in 20 league appearances for his former employers, Swansea City before he joined the Villans as a free agent on a six-month contract. Even if Villa were to get demoted to the English second division, an experienced forward such as Borja, could serve as a reliable striking option in Dean Smith’s squad. Hence, losing him for free will be a bitter pill to swallow for the Midlands club heading into the new season.

The 27-year-old had made just two appearances for Villa this term before the season came to an unexpected halt as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Therefore, it is tough to judge whether he would have been a success at Villa Park if given a proper shot to justify his worth in the English top-flight.

What Does The Spanish Goal-Getter Bring To The Table?

Borja is an experienced campaigner who has played for clubs like Malaga, Atletico Madrid, Eibar, Real Zaragoza among many others. He might not be the most consistent forward in terms of goal-scoring, but there is no doubt that he would have been a valuable squad player for most teams fighting for their top-flight lives like the Villans.

The Spanish marksman lacks pace, but he makes up for it through his sheer strength and power that allows him to overpower the opposition defenders in the air. He packs a lot of venom with his shot attempts and is also a decent finisher in the final third.

What Should Be Dean Smith’s Play With Regards To Borja Baston This Summer?

If Smith was planning to use Baston more often this season, then he should try to convince him to stay by tying him down to a new contract so that the West Midlands giants do not end up losing him for free this summer. However, if the Spaniard was surplus to requirements at Villa Park, then Smith will be better of letting him leave and finding a suitable replacement capable of helping his side challenge across all competitions next season, irrespective of whether the Villans are playing in the Championship or the Premier League.

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