Christian Benteke looks set to leave Aston Villa after Liverpool met his £32.5 million release clause. The big Belgian will follow captain Fabian Delph through the exit door.
It will be a big loss for the Villans; the 24-year-old scored 13 goals in the last campaign after recovering from injury in the second half of the season.
With such an influential player on his way out, Villa will need to move quickly to replace him. Thankfully for them they'll have plenty of money to reinvest in a new striker. Here are five forwards that Tim Sherwood should consider.
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The Queens Park Rangers striker has been heavily linked with a move to Newcastle. However with the signing of Anderlecht striker, Alexander Mitrovic imminent, the chances of Austin moving to Tyneside have been reduced. So perhaps it's time for Aston Villa to table a bid for the sought after forward.
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It's been reported that a fee of £15 million would be enough to prise Austin away from QPR. This would be less than half of Benteke's transfer fee. The club needs a reliable goal scorer and the Englishman certainly fits the bill. He scored 18 goals last season, five more than Benteke managed. He belongs in the Premier League not the Championship.
It's unclear where Chicharito is going to fit in at United next season. With United expected to sign a striker before the transfer window closes, it's likely that the Mexican will once again be a backup option. Would the striker be happy with such a role?
The 27-year-old spent last season at Real Madrid where he struggled for game time. Hernandez has 37 goals to his name in the Premier League but looks unlikely to be a first-team regular at United next season. He's proven he can score goals in the Premier League meaning he'd be a good replacement for Benteke. It would be a step down for the Mexican but it might be one he'd be willing to take if it could guarantee him more first-team action.
Fans in England may not be familiar with Jonathan Soriano, because he plays in the Austrian league. However the Spaniard boasts an impressive goal scoring record. He scored 31 goals last season, meaning he finished as the fourth highest goal scorer in Europe. He also scored 31 in the previous season and 26 in 2012/13.
Soriano has become the definition of a consistent goal scorer. It can be argued that he's playing in an 'easy' league but his goal scoring record is still simply sensational. If he was to join Villa he would be moving to a better league, something that could be attractive. It would be a big step up for the Spaniard, but at 29 he has the experience to cope.
Loic Remy's time at Chelsea has been frustrating to say the least. He's undoubtedly a talented forward but he's found his opportunities limited at Stamford Bridge. The Frenchman managed just six starts in the Premier League last season, but still managed to score seven goals.
With the arrival of Radamel Falcao, Remy could well find himself relegated to third choice striker at Chelsea. Will he settle for this? A move away is on the cards this summer. A move to Villa would be a step down but it would at least guarantee him regular football. If he could emulate the 14-goal season he enjoyed with Newcastle then he would easily fill the void left by Benteke.
WISSAM BEN YEDDER
Ben Yedder has been a reliable goal scorer over the last three seasons. The Frenchman managed an impressive 14 goals in Ligue 1 last season, despite playing for relegation-threatened Toulouse. The youngster managed 16 goals in the previous campaign and 14 in 2012/13. Ben Yedder is the kind of consistent goal scorer that Aston Villa will need to survive in the Premier League next season.
The French forward has also proved that he's capable of scoring goals in a struggling team, something he may well need to do at Villa. With him already playing for a relegation threatened team a move to Villa would be by no means a step down. If he could reproduce his goal scoring form in England then he'd be enough to keep the west Midlands club in the league.
Aston Villa fans: Who would be your ideal Benteke replacement? Give us YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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