Coral’s Rumour Reel: Aston Villa to assemble new strikeforce?
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 20, 2015
The Sunday papers give Aston Villa fans a glimmer of hope – despite witnessing their team fall 10 points from Premier League safety – as head coach Remi Garde is linked with two winter window swoops to bolster their attack.
While Coral rate the Villans as rank outsiders to stay up, reports in the local and national press claim they have sent scouts to run the rule over 27-year-old Gent forward Laurent Depoitre.
Attacking dearth addressed by Depoitre deal
Punters will be used to seeing strikers fire their way up to the top flight from the lower leagues of English football, but 27-year-old Depoitre has gone from playing Belgian Third Division football to the Pro League, winning two promotions in his career.
At 6ft 3in, Depoitre is similar in stature to compatriot Christian Benteke and another former Aston Villa frontman Grant Holt, who fared very differently while with the West Midlands outfit.
To go from playing in his homeland – where Depoitre has helped Genk to amazingly get out of their Champions League group – to Premier League football will be a huge step up, so that is why the Villans are running the rule over him.
Netting Naismith would give Garde options
Garde not only wants the Belgium cap, but is a readying a £6.5m January bid for Everton’s out-of-favour and versatile Scotland forward Steven Naismith.
Despite hitting a hat-trick in a famous win over Chelsea this autumn, 29-year-old Naismith has completed 90 minutes just once in the Premier League under Roberto Martinez, and been an unused substitute since the middle of October.
Villa’s fellow relegation battlers Norwich City were keen to recruit Naismith this past summer, so they may challenge the Midlands men for his services.
Benzema and Brozovic to Premier League big boys?
In other transfer gossip, fallen giants Chelsea could turn to disgraced France frontman Karim Benzema if Real Madrid decide to get rid of him. The 28-year-old is at the centre of an alleged blackmail scandal involving international teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
The French Football Federation has suspended Benzema from playing for his country until the matter is resolved, but club officials at the Bernabeu are becoming concerned about how negative publicity is effecting their Galactico image.
Premier League title favourites Manchester City are also understood to be monitoring Benzema’s situation with Madrid, wile Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is a long-time admirer of the player.
And finally, speaking of the Gunners, they have been linked with a £13.7m winter window swoop for Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.
Wenger will have noted the success his target’s fellow Croatia international Luka Modric had at north London rivals Tottenham a few years back, and Arsenal may thus seek to ease their engine room injuries by buying Brozovic.