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Aston Villa

Lewis Grabban the missing piece in Aston Villa’s promotion chase

The striker has three goals in his last three appearances for Aston Villa.

Mathew Nash

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Aston Villa continued to push their claim for Premier League promotion yesterday evening as they defeated Sunderland 3-0 at the Stadium of Light. James Chester scored the second goal whilst an own goal from Bryan Oviedo tied up the result for Steve Bruce’s men. But it was the opening goalscorer who made the headlines.

Lewis Grabban netted the opener against the team he started the season with. The striker joined Sunderland on loan in the summer from Bournemouth. The 30-year-old scored 12 goals in 20 appearances for Sunderland but decided to join Aston Villa in January.

In doing so he has swapped a miserable relegation slog for a chance at promotion. For Villa, convincing him to do so has been a masterstroke.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND – AUGUST 04: Lewis Grabban (R), of Sunderland takes on Jacob Butterfield of Derby County during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sunderland and Derby County at Stadium of Light on August 4, 2017 in Sunderland, England. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

The talented striker has now scored three goals in as many games and Villa fans have already taken to the striker.

Aston Villa have an excellent squad but one area where they have struggled is regards goals from up front. Scott Hogan has not been finding the net regularly since making his move to Villa Park last January. Jonathan Kodjia has spent most of this season on the sidelines. The goalscoring burden has laid on the likes of Albert Adomah, Robert Snodgrass and Conor Hourihane from midfield.

Bringing in Grabban, a man who was already in form, looks like being a masterstroke from Steve Bruce.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 21: Lewis Grabban of Sunderland celebrates his goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Sunderland at Villa Park on November 21, 2017 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

The missing piece in the puzzle for Villa has appeared to be a striker in form. A poacher who will score any manner of goal and, in Grabban, Villa have exactly that.

Given the start that Grabban has had at Villa it will not be a surprise if he continues to score regularly and can spearhead the attack that sees Villa return to the Premier League.

As Sunderland continue to suffer, Aston Villa will continue to reap the rewards from stealing away a key man to their survival hopes.

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

Aston Villa

As Tottenham close in on Jack Grealish, Daniel Levy’s hard bargaining should be applauded

The Villa youngster could be set for a late move to Spurs.

Max Cohen

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Jack Grealish
Photo: Getty Images

According to the Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are closing in on signing Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish ahead of their summer tour of the United States.

The signing has been left late in the window, much to the annoyance of Spurs fans, but Daniel Levy’s hard bargaining should be applauded as Tottenham seem set to buy Grealish for far less than Villa originally asked for.

The Mirror claimed that the Championship club initially were holding out for £40 million, but now they are willing to sell for around half of that amount.

If Spurs were to pinch the creative mastermind from Villa Park for around £20 million that would represent superb business, considering the inflated transfer market for young British talents.

Although the Levy’s style is immensely frustrating at times, there can be no arguing that a bargain of this magnitude is well worth waiting for.

If Tottenham had done their business too early on in the window, they could have been left paying far too much for the former English U-21 international.

But as the summer months progressed, news of Aston Villa’s financial woes increased. Given the new information, Spurs were put in a much stronger position as they knew Villa would be desperate to sell in order to offload Grealish’s high wages and rein in a transfer fee.

The north Londoners look primed to welcome one of the Championship’s finest midfield technicians to White Hart Lane, and at only 22 years of age, Grealish has time on his side to develop into a world class player.

Daniel Levy’s tough negotiating style is not ideal for most circumstances and rightfully draws the ire of the Tottenham faithful. Yet his bargaining nous has come in handy during the Jack Grealish saga, granting Spurs a much-improved deal.

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Aston Villa

Forgotten man Ritchie De Laet could play important role for Aston Villa

Aston Villa may have to give a second chance to the 29-year-old.

Mathew Nash

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When Aston Villa snapped up Premier League winner Ritchie De Laet from Leicester City in the summer of 2016 it looked a great deal. He arrived after a season in which he won both the Premier League with Leicester City and promotion with Middlesbrough whilst on loan.

Considering he had also won promotion with Leicester in 2014, he looked a perfect addition for Aston Villa at just £2.5 million.

However, De Laet struggled. He played just three times in his first season at the club before picking up a knee injury against Brentford. He was subsequently ruled out for the rest of the campaign.

Last season he featured sporadically through the first-half of the season but in January was sent out on loan to his boyhood club Royal Antwerp until the end of the season.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

That deal proved to be unsuccessful as well. The Belgian side decided not to bring in De Laet permanently after a struggle of a loan campaign which eventually saw him dropped.

But Aston Villa should embrace the fact the 29-year-old is back. Considering they need to sell highly-marketable players this summer, keeping De Laet on board would be wise.

He can play at left-back, right-back and on the wing. Add to that his excellent experience of winning promotion and Aston Villa need to keep him on board.                                                                                                                    

De Laet could be like a new signing for Aston Villa.

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Aston Villa

James Bree must make an impact at Aston Villa next season

The right-back needs to make an impact at Villa this season.

Mathew Nash

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It has been a tough summer for Aston Villa. The club failed to win promotion to the Premier League after a play-off final defeat to Fulham. That defeat at Wembley soon became even more significant, as Villa’s financial issues came to the fore.

Two summers of overspending without the reward of promotion means the club are in serious financial peril. Aston Villa are now set to offload some of their prized possessions, such as Jack Grealish, James Chester and Jonathan Kodjia.

For some players, the lack of funds at Aston Villa will present them with a chance. One such player is James Bree.

The former Barnsley man has been telling the Express and Star this week all about his hopes for the season, suggesting Villa are still looking at a promotion push.

(during the Sky Bet Championship Play Off Semi Final second leg match between Aston Villa and Middlesbrough at Villa Park on May 15, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

It might also be a season where Bree features more regularly. He played just 10 times last season but with Villa now unable to bring in big name new signings, Bree might get a chance at right-back.

Everyone wants to get promotion every year, no matter what’s going on.

“I think that’s what we’ve got to push for. We’ve just got to go and see what happens this season.”

– James Bree on Aston Villla’s promotion hopes

Signed for a fee in the region of £3 million the former Barnsley man must grab this opportunity. There is still competition at right-back. Alan Hutton signed a new deal, Ahmed Elmohamady can play the role and Ritchie De Laet has returned from a loan spell.

Bree will need to prove he is a player Aston Villa can count on in their season of need. If he cannot make the breakthrough in the current circumstances, then he may never do so at Villa Park.

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