Alex Bruce has backed Aston Villa to “improve their squad” with the signing of Liverpool striker Divock Origi this summer.

The former Premier League defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits the Villans’ “huge” financial risk on the likes of Wesley Moraes and Mbwana Samatta failed to pay off last season.

The Mirror report that manager Dean Smith has set his sights on Origi to bolster his forward line if the 25-year-old is allowed to leave Anfield.

The Belgium international played 42 times across all competitions last season but made only seven starts in the Premier League.

Bruce believes a tried and tested striker is an absolute must for Smith this summer and suggests that Origi could be the answer.

Bruce told Football Insider: “Well if they want to improve they’ve got to go and get a proven Premier League centre-forward.

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“They’ve risked huge amounts of money on Wesley, Samatta and Nakamba, people like that who have come in and not really done much this season, they’ve been a bit disappointing. 

“If they want to improve, someone like Origi would definitely improve the squad and to match the expectation of where the Villa faithful expect to be, those are the sort of signings they need to make.”

Origi has netted 19 goals in 91 games for Liverpool, although the majority of those appearances came as a substitute.

Villa’s top scorer in the league last season was Jack Grealish with eight goals, while summer signing Wesley netted five times.

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton has been left drooling over a potential “perfect” part-exchange deal.