Di Matteo shares Aston Villa striker plans as Tony Xia refuses to accept reported £8m offer
By Amir Mir
Roberto Di Matteo has insisted he must trim the Aston Villa squad before focusing on buying a new striker ahead of the new championship season.
The Midlands outfit have said they are on the lookout for a new forward in addition to keeping Ayew after finding the net on only 27 occasions last term, which resulted in the club’s relegation into the second tier.
This has forced Di Matteo to focus his attention on adding firepower to a misfiring attack which won only three Premier League games last season.
“We’re certainly looking for a striker,” Di Matteo told BBC WM 95.6. “And maybe some more attacking players, depending on how the next few weeks go and which players are going to leave.”
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The Italian oversaw their pre-season tour of Austria where three senior strikers, Gabby Agbonlahor, Rudy Gestede and Ayew were all involved.
The trio only managed 13 goals between them last term, which has resulted in the likes of Chelsea’s Patrick Bamford and Fulham’s Ross McCormack linked with a move to Villa Park in recent weeks.
“You could probably name 15 players that have been linked with us but I’m very pleased with the players we’ve brought in – I think we’ve done some good business there,” Di Matteo told BBC WM. “But my attention will now focus on outgoings. I would like to trim the squad – it’s too big for my liking, so there will be some movement now.”
The Championship side have signed three new players this summer with Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick signing for a fee of £3million, goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini joining for £4.1million and Aaron Tshibola transferring for £5million.
The former European champions will begin their Championship season on August 7 against Sheffield Wednesday with 30 first-team players and Di Matteo fully understands where his priorities lie.
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