“Someone who is an upgrade on Watkins…”

Aston Villa are ready to bide their time for a potential upgrade on Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins.

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That’s according to transfer insider Dean Jones, who was speaking to GiveMeSport.

The truth

Villa paid £30.6m to sign Watkins from Brentford in the summer of 2020, and he ranks as the second most expensive addition in their history behind Emiliano Buendia.

A year later, Danny Ings arrived from Southampton on another expensive deal, this time for £26.5m.

In 2021/22, the pair have managed to score just 18 Premier League goals between them, failing to match other top English strikers like Jamie Vardy and Ivan Toney.

The Daily Mirror (via The Birmingham Mail) reported back in April that Steven Gerrard wanted to bring in another no. 9 this summer in an attempt to level up.

The last

Jones says Villa will want a higher level of ‘output’ from their striking options than the outgoing duo can necessarily deliver.

But he says Villa won’t pounce until there’s a near ‘guarantee’ of improvement.

“On offense, it has to be someone who is an upgrade on Watkins and Ings in terms of what they’re going to bring you out there,” he said.

“There are a lot of players of a similar level to Watkins and Ings, but I think the feeling is that if there’s no guarantee we’ll get more goals of that type then we’ll just wait because someone else will still be available in that window.

The verdict

Which striker could Villa be looking to bring in?

Well, 90Min reports that they are “keeping tabs” on Flamengo no. 9 Gabriel Barbosa with a view to a possible transfer.

Barbosa, 25, has scored 104 goals in 160 games for the Brazilian side but has yet to prove he can deliver in Europe so the move would be a risk from that perspective.

And then there’s the veteran option in the form of Luis Suarez, who is currently without a club after leaving Atletico Madrid.

Athletic’s Gregg Evans reported in June that Gerrard was considering a move for his former teammate.

The 436-goal hitman would potentially offer some short-term guarantees, but at the age of 35 he wouldn’t address Villa’s concerns later.

So it’s an intriguing dilemma.