As Roberto Di Matteo begins his revamping of the broken squad he inherited from Tim Sherwood, Remi Garde, and Eric Black, he is reported to begin his plan in pursuit of Championship proven striker Patrick Bamford. Bamford made light work of Villa's new division in the 2014/15 season, scoring 17 goals in 38 games as he helped take Middlesborough to the precipice of promotion and took home Player of the Year honors. Last season, however, was decidedly less successful as the English striker struggled to find success in the Premier League with both Crystal Palace and Norwich City.
The Canaries usually deployed frontmen Cameron Jerome and Dieumerci Mbokani over Bamford after acquiring the Englishman in January, but were unable to secure promotion - Nowich's visit to Villa Park in February was pitiful by any standards, showing little offense firepower or desire. Bamford seems ready for a new challenge as his loan with Norwich expires and he is unlikely to return. Despite his previous moves all being loans, however, Bamford's departure from Chelsea this time may be permanent as he is reported to be absent from new manager Antonio Conte's vision at Stamford Bridge. Bamford's price tag is rumored to be £10 million, a sizable sum for a young player who struggled to assert himself in the Premier League, but more realistic when appraised with proven Championship performance in mind. Villa face competition from Newcastle United for Bamford - Newcastle's relegation despite heavy financial investment in the squad in January has resulted in a similarly uncertain squad and summer. Both Newcastle and Villa would like a landmark signing to put woeful seasons behind and start on the quest to return to the Premier League.
Bamford and Villa striker Rudy Gestede could likely form a dynamic partnership in the Championship, with plenty of experience shared despite Bamford's young age.
Is Bamford's price tag too steep or unrealistic? Could he and Gestede lead a front line that carries Villa to promotion? Let us know!