By Sam Stone

5th Apr, 2023 | 12:30pm

Aston Villa move for Alfredo Morelos would be upgrade on Jhon Duran as transfer news emerges

Aston Villa have been linked with a move for Alfredo Morelos – and the 26-year-old striker wouldn’t be the worst option for the Villans to call upon.

According to TEAMtalk (3 April), Villa are one of a number of Premier League clubs who are interested in the soon-to-be free agent, with his contract at Rangers set to expire.

Considering Morelos’ history and the league he currently operates in, there are many who would deem him below the level required to compete in England’s top flight. The concerns are warranted, but if you take a step back and look at the transfer in a wider context, this is not a bad move for Unai Emery to be looking into.

First of all, will Villa realistically be looking to sign another first-choice striker in the summer window? With Ollie Watkins in the form of his life and performing well, the answer is a resounding no. Emery will more than likely look to utilise his transfer budget elsewhere, with another winger and defensive reinforcements on the agenda.

A forward is required, but a backup is the more likely route for Villa to go down. The Colombian should be viewed as a squad player to provide strength in depth, and, with that in mind, he could well prove to be an astute addition.

Since Michael Beale arrived at the Scottish giants, Morelos has been in fine goalscoring form and has looked somewhat like his old self. He’s a player in his prime and probably deserves a chance at testing himself in England. 14 goals is a good return from Morelos during the 2022/23 campaign and according to Wyscout, Morelos has managed 67 shots in the Scottish Premiership, with only six players amassing more.

Villa fans who are concerned with the 26-year-old’s ability only need to take a look at Jhon Duran.

Morelos’ compatriot was signed from the MLS, which is a similar standard to the SPFL, and has looked lively during his fleeting outings.

In an attacking sense, the duo have amassed similar statistics over the past year. Morelos’ XG (expected goals) is slightly higher – 0.58 compared to Duran’s 0.38 – but the 19-year-old still matches the Rangers man when it comes to shots per game.

Another key component of the 26-year-old’s play which would benefit Villa is his ability to bring other players into play. He’s an excellent hold-up player and this is represented by the number of times he receives the ball per 90 minutes.

Morelos receives the ball, on average, 25 times per game, which is nearly double what Duran has registered during the 2022/23 season and significantly better than Watkins’ ten received passes received.

Considering the Colombian is out of contract in the summer and likely to be available, this is a move Villa fans shouldn’t turn their noses up at straight away. He would add another dimension to Emery’s forward line and would certainly be an excellent option off the bench when required.

In other Aston Villa news, Dan Bardell believes a loanee could consider a Villa Park exit this summer if he isn’t given first-team assurances next season.