Aston Villa Opinion: Gregoire Defrel could be a good utility addition to the Lions’ attack for a reasonable price
According to Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa have been linked with a move for AS Roma striker Gregoire Defrel, with reports claiming that manager Dean Smith is keen to bolster his attacking options even further ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Birmingham Live understands that Villa are expected to face stiff competition in their pursuit of the Frenchman from Premier League rivals Watford and Everton, both of whom have been linked with the 28-year-old earlier in the summer.
The news of Villa’s links with Defrel coincides with the arrival of Egyptian international Trezeguet, who was unveiled as the Lions’ ninth signing of the summer on Wednesday.
Villa’s spending spree has seen the likes of Wesley Moraes, Jota, Matt Targett, Trezeguet, Ezri Konsa and Bjorn Engels come through the door at Villa Park this summer, whilst permanent deals for last season’s loanees Tyrone Mings, Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi have also been confirmed.
The Lions have already made a strong statement of intent with their heavy recruitment this summer that they are preparing to stay up in the top-flight for many more years to come.
Dean Smith seems to have a tough task on his hand in integrating all these new players into his plans for the upcoming Premier League campaign and only time will reveal whether or not Villa’s policy of mass recruitment will pay the dividends.
However, Villa are seemingly not done yet with their summer business even after making nine new signings, with Gregoire Defrel the latest to hit the club’s shortlist of targets, which already consist of Tom Heaton, Said Benrahma, Jack Butland, Marvelous Nakamba and many more. (h/t Birmingham Mail)
Defrel spent this past season on loan at Sampdoria from fellow Serie A club AS Roma and netted 12 times in 39 appearances across all competitions to guide his club to a 9th-place finish in the Italian top flight.
A youth product of Parma, the 28-year-old started his professional career in Italy at his boyhood club and spent time on loan at Foggia in the lower divisions before earning a move to Cesena in Serie B.
A 9-goal season in the Serie A in the 2014-15 campaign paved the way for a move to Sassuolo, where the versatile forward spent his most prolific years.
Defrel accumulated 23 goals and 11 assists in 73 appearances in all competitions for Sassuolo over the course of two seasons before earning a move to the Italian capital with Roma in the summer of 2017.
The Frenchman’s switch to the Stadio Olimpico didn’t work wonders, though, and the 28-year-old was shipped out on loan to Sampdoria last summer.
A versatile playmaking forward, Defrel is capable of playing out wide on either flank, through the centre as a supporting striker and also in a centre-forward role as the spearhead of the attack.
Noted for his good turn of pace and acceleration, Defrel is capable of combining his dribbling ability with his natural finesse to create space for himself, whilst also possessing a good eye for through balls to break the opposition’s lines.
A powerful distance shooter who likes to cut inside from the wide areas, Defrel can prove to be a menace to defences with his sharpness, agility, intelligent movement and general nous for getting into the right positions to score goals or pick out passes.
To put things into perspective, Villa already have the likes Jota, Anwar El Ghazi, Robert Green and Trezeguet competing for the two wide roles in Smith’s 4-3-3 formation but it won’t be a bad idea for the Lions to bring in an experienced and versatile attacker like Defrel.
The 28-year-old is likely to increase competition for places down the flanks, whilst Smith might also afford to look at him as someone who could provide cover and competition for club-record signing Wesley Moraes up top.
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The Lions, of course, have Jonathan Kodjia as a useful back-up but Defrel would be a massive upgrade on the Ivorian.
With that in mind, Gregoire Defrel could prove to be a good utility addition to Villa’s attack for a reasonable price this summer.