Aston Villa Opinion: Rafael Leao would be a top signing for the Villans
According to the Birmingham Mail, Premier League newcomers Aston Villa could hijack Valencia’s move for Lille wonderkid, Rafael Leao.
The Portugal Under-21 international has been a revelation in France, scoring eight goals to fire Lille into the Champions League last season. He is rapidly emerging as one of the most exciting young forwards in European football, earning comparisons with Paris Saint-Germain and France international Kylian Mbappe after a superb debut campaign in Ligue 1.
Everton are also interested in Rafael Leao, who signed for Lille from Sporting Lisbon on a free transfer last summer. After a fantastic debut season, Lille value the young striker at £26.8m, adds the report.
Given the player of Leao’s talent available for that price, Aston Villa must beat the likes of Valencia and Everton to land him this summer. The Villans have already made some exciting signings this summer upon their return to the top-flight.
They shattered their transfer record last month by landing Wesley Moraes from Belgian club Genk. The addition of Moraes is apparently viewed as a replacement for Tammy Abraham, who has returned back to Chelsea, following a fantastic season-long loan spell at Villa Park.
While Dean Smith has already improved his team’s attack with the additions of Moraes, Anwar El Ghazi and Jota, the Midlands club need still more strength to their depth. There’s no doubting Villa need more firepower up front and landing a top young talent like Rafael Leao would be ideal.
Leao would offer pace, versatility and a goal threat to Aston Villa. He works tirelessly off the ball, which makes him a perfect fit for Smith’s style of play. The 20-year-old’s spatial awareness and ability to run with the ball belie his age. Furthermore, the Portuguese youngster is good when it comes to aerial duels, making him a genuine threat from indirect set-pieces into the opposition box.
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Smith certainly wants a player to compete with Moraes and Leao could be an inspired addition to the Villa ranks.
If Aston Villa can beat the likes of Everton and Valencia to the Portuguese starlet, that would be some statement ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. And if Leao fulfils his potential, he could become a star at Villa Park.