Aston Villa supporters have been in high spirits in the Transfer Tavern in the last few hours after seeing their side keep up their Championship promotion challenge with a routine 3-0 victory over struggling Reading on Tuesday night.
Steve Bruce’s men went into their clash with the Royals off the back of a 0-0 draw at Hull City on Saturday, a result which left them nine points adrift of second place Cardiff City in the table. Yet the Villans reduced that gap to seven points on Tuesday night as goals from Birkir Bjarnason, Conor Hourihane, and Scott Hogan secured an easy win for the Midlands giants at Villa Park, who took full advantage of a first half red card to Reading’s Dave Edwards to run out comfortable winners over Paul Clement’s side.
Subsequently, there have been many delighted Villa fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are hoping their side can back up Tuesday’s win with another against Norwich City on Saturday, and thus continue their march towards a Premier League return.
In the meantime though, there has been plenty for our resident Villans supporters to discuss, not least recent reports linking them, among others, with a move for Southampton striker Charlie Austin were the Saints to get relegated.
And if Bruce’s men are indeed to replace the South Coast club in the top-flight next season, landing the £10.8 million-rated hotshot (as per Transfermarkt) would fire the Midlands outfit to safety next time round.
Ultimately, the 28-year-old is a proven goal-scorer at Premier League level having bagged 18 goals in just 35 league appearances for Queens Park Rangers back in the 2014/15 campaign, and 13 in 38 games for Southampton since his move to St Mary’s back in January 2016.
Even this season, a campaign in which he has managed just 17 league appearances, the Englishman has bagged six goals for the struggling Saints, with a hamstring issue restricting his gametime greatly, and very much failing to help Southampton in their battle against relegation.
Obviously, that injury, alongside others that Austin has suffered in recent years, will be of concern to many Villa fans, but when he is fit, he will score goals at top-flight level, which will be invaluable for the Villans were they to indeed return to the promised land next term.
Only two men in Hourihane and Albert Adomah have reached double figures so far this season, and while several others have chipped in with timely contributions, it’s clear that those attacking ranks will need to be bolstered over the summer were they to win promotion.
And in Austin, they would get a hugely prolific goal-scorer who guarantees goals when fit, and exactly the sort of striker teams near the bottom need to get out of trouble.
Thus, Bruce must urge chairman Dr Tony Xia to land the 28-year-old if they replace Southampton in the Premier League next season, as the Englishman has all the capabilities to fire the Midlands giants to top-flight safety.
Villa fans… what do you think? Let us know!