May 24, 2024

Aston Villa maintained their improbable quest for the Premier League title on Saturday afternoon with a narrow victory over relegation-threatened Burnley. But as four of the final nine points indicate, head coach Unai Emery still has a lot of work ahead of him.

The Villans appear to be limping into 2024, but Emery will be relieved to learn that the January transfer window, which gives him the opportunity to bolster his team before the second half of the season, is less than a day away.

According to reports, the Spanish coach is already keeping an eye on a few players and is eager to add one to the team to strengthen his offensive line.

News about Cyril Ngonge’s transfer to Aston Villa
Prior to the winter window, Aston Villa has reportedly been monitoring Hellas Verona forward Cyril Ngonge, according to a report from Tuttomercatoweb last week. The report claims that Villa has scouted the 23-year-old multiple times this season and that the Italian club is presently asking £13 million for the player.

Despite joining the team midway through the season, Ngonge moved to Verona in January of last year and finished as the leading goal scorer with five goals, including two in the relegation playoff match against Spezia in June to secure I Gialloblu’s spot in Serie A for another year.

The Belgian, who has alternated between playing as a winger and a second striker, is the Italian team’s leading scorer this season with five goals and two assists. Marco Baroni’s team is just one goal above the relegation zone on goal differential. Ngonge has actually accounted for 33.3% of Verona’s league goals thus far this season, but the Serie A underdogs may lose him in January as Villa is keen to sign him.

This season’s stats for Cyril Ngonge
Aside from injuries and suspensions, Emery’s starting lineup has performed admirably thus far this year. The management has, however, made some adjustments to one area: Ollie Watkins’s position next to the center forward.

Emery has occasionally used a two-man front line, with Villa’s lucky charm partnered with Moussa Diaby, Jhon Duran, or Leon Bailey. At other occasions, Nicolo Zaniolo or Youri Tielemans have occupied the number ’10’ spot in the hole behind the striker.

Bailey, who has nine goals and eight assists across all competitions, is without a doubt Watkins’ most effective substitute attacker. Nevertheless, he has scored six goals and provided two assists when playing off to the right.

With five goals and four assists this season, Diaby is Emery’s third-most productive striker; but, in his previous 13 games, the Frenchman has only managed to find the net twice. In contrast, Tielemans and Zaniolo, two rotation alternatives, have three goals between them in 44 games.

Due to Diaby’s inconsistent play, Bailey must frequently fill the vacuum alongside Watkins. Matty Cash has been utilized as a right-winger but has been awkward doing so. The Poland international last filled that role during Villa’s dramatic 2-1 victory against Brentford two weeks ago, although he was substituted after 65 minutes. The Birmingham World gave his performance a 5/10 match rating.

Bailey should keep playing off the right, where he is most effective, and Ngonge could take Watkins’ spot next to him. The only other option is to give Duran more playing time, but as the data below shows, Ngonge has outperformed the 20-year-old Colombian this season in a number of important offensive stats.

With Ngonge having contributed to 40% of Villa’s Premier League goals this season and his low cost, Emery won’t want to pass up this deal in January. As a result, he might be exactly what Watkins needs opposite him.

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