By Amir Mir
Roberto Di Matteo has claimed Aston Villa had no choice but to pay a hefty fee for Jonathan Kodjia during the summer transfer window.
Striker Kodjia, 26, moved to the Midlands club from Championship rivals Bristol City for a fee of £15 million, which broke the Championship transfer record.
Di Matteo, speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon, offered his thoughts on the transfer fee when asked if Villa had paid over the odds.
“There was a big demand for strikers during the window and he had Premier League clubs after him as well,” said Di Matteo as quoted by the Birmingham Mail. “For strikers you always have to pay a premium.”
Ivory Coast international Kodjia scored 18 goals in 45 Championship games for Bristol City last term.
It is said Kodjia is in line to make his debut against Forest at Villa Park on Sunday, as he looks to help his new side maintain their unbeaten record at home this season.
When Di Matteo was asked whether the transfer fee for Kodjia was driven by Villa still receiving money from relegation last term, the Italian gave an empathic answer.
“The price was driven by the demand for the player,” said Di Matteo. “It’s how a market works. If you have demand, you have to offer a bit more.”
Bristol City CEO Mark Ashton fanned the flames when he claimed his side had driven the price of the striker up. He was quoted in the Birmingham Daily Mail saying: “It’s like anything else, when you know somebody wants something you’ve got, you have to drive the price up, and that is what we did.
“I’ve had other clubs ask me ‘How the bloody hell did you do that?’ That shows Lee and I have done our jobs properly. But we were only able to do that by exploiting the influx of cash into the Championship.”
Di Matteo will be looking to bounce back from the 3-1 loss suffered at Kodjia’s old club Bristol City prior to the international break.
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