Aston Villa fans will be sat with their feet up drinking a fine bottle of red wine after their players fought away relegation in what was a turbulent season for the Midlands club. Their transformation under former Norwich manager Paul Lambert has survived its first test and is now likely to kick on to higher standards next year. Whilst one man stole all the headlines Villa-related, Christian Benteke may not be wearing claret and blue when the new campaign rolls round. So if the 22-year-old does make a switch to higher ground, who will lead the line for the Villians in 2013/14?
Naturally, Birmingham born winger Gabriel Agbonlahor’s name will be thrown into the ring. The 26-year-old fan favourite started the season like he had been a diet of fried food and weight gainer but has quickly upped his fitness and regained that speed he is renowned for. He has come into his own in the latter stages of the season with six goals in his final nine Premier League appearances he finished as Villa’s second top scorer, behind the aforementioned Benteke.
Agbonlahor has progressed through the youth ranks at Villa Park and although he has been preferred as a winger because of his whippet-like pace he has certainly shown why a lot of spectators would rather see him as an out-and-out striker.
What about Andreas Weimann? The Austria international netted seven goals in his 30 league games this season and has formed an almighty partnership with Benteke. However, with good form comes rumours, and the 21-year-old has been linked with a host of different topflight clubs when the transfer opens this summer.
If Lambert is serious about implementing his youth policy then Weimann will have to stay at the club next season. His bursting runs from the attacking midfield positions have caused even the best in the land problems, but like Agbonlahor has been used on the wing to benefit the team.
The last man we look at is Darren Bent, who has completely fallen down any sort of pecking order that exists at the club. It is likely that Lambert will try and get rid in the coming months to cut the wage bill, but if he doesn’t, in my opinion, he is more than good enough to spearhead the Villa attack with a string of games behind him.
The likelihood is that Lambert will be using the funds gained from Benteke’s move, if he does indeed depart, to find himself another gem.