Why Aston Villa should promote Indiana Vassilev to the senior squad
According to Birmingham Live, Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith was in attendance at Bodymoor Heath on Monday night to keep a close eye on academy prospect Indiana Vassilev, who bagged a brace to propel the U23s to a 5-3 victory over Middlesbrough in the Premier League 2 Division 2.
The 18-year-old took his tally up to 4 goals in his last 6 games for the U23s, bagging a quickfire brace in the first half to set the stage for an eight-goal thriller. Vassilev scored his first with a well-taken header while a sweetly-struck low drive into the bottom corner led to his second goal.
Held in high regard by the youth coaching staff at Villa Park as a proper poacher with a devastating eye for goal and immaculate ball control (h/t Birmingham Live), Vassilev left the home supporters in awe with his heroics in front of goal for the U23s on Monday.
Born in Georgia to parents of Bulgarian descent, Vassilev migrated to the United States and started playing football at a very young age. Aston Villa scouted him while he was absolutely ripping it up for the USA at the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup in India and he came through the door soon after.
Vassilev initially struggled to make his presence felt at the U23 level in the PL 2 during the 2018-19 campaign but he has made an impressive transition this time around, registering 4 goals and 2 assists in 11 appearances.
Things aren’t really looking too bright for the Villans as far as their Premier League credentials are concerned and Smith will surely need to find a way to improve in the coming months.
A new striker to provide cover and competition for Wesley Moraes continues to be a priority, with youngster Keinan Davis currently on the sidelines and Jonathan Kodjia merely making up the numbers in the matchday squads.
Wesley has come under criticism for a series of lacklustre displays in front of the goal this term.
He hasn’t been all that bad for a young striker in his first season in the Premier League but his inconsistencies certainly can’t be played down.
To that end, though Villa are unlikely to splash the cash on any marquee signings in January, with Smith confirming that the club is not preparing for a busy transfer window after spending a fortune to facilitate a massive squad overhaul this past summer (h/t Birmingham Live).
To put things into perspective, Aston Villa might need to promote someone from within their own academy to solve the lack of depth in the attack. Fast-tracking Indiana Vassilev could save them millions of pounds in the transfer window.
Blessed with an absolute wand of a left foot, Vassilev boasts of the versatility and the technical skills to play out wide on either flank, as a No.10 or even as an out-and-out centre-forward up top. His red-hot form in the PL 2 means that he would certainly be worth a punt for Smith (h/t Birmingham Mail).
Hence, Aston Villa would add some quality cover to their attacking ranks without having to spend a single penny in January.
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All in all, promoting Indiana Vassilev to the senior ranks looks like a gamble worth taking for Aston Villa in the coming months.