Aston Villa are plotting a bid for Espanyol centre-forward Raul de Tomas.

What’s the word?

That’s according a report from Spain (via TheHardTackle), who claim that Villa are one of four Premier League teams vying for the Spaniard’s signature this summer.

Espanyol are willing to listen to offers for their star man in a bid to gather funds for the manager to spend. The club are hoping for a fee in the region of €35m (£30m).

Other than Steven Gerrard’s side, Everton, West Ham United and Newcastle United are all linked with a move.

 Could spell the end of Danny Ings

Aston Villa have been somewhat cursed over the past couple of years with strikers, as none have managed to set the world alight despite their performances prior to joining.

Perhaps Gerrard could finally get it right with this unflappable Spaniard with an eye for goal, entering the prime of his career.

Last season the 27-year-old notched up 17 league goals as Espanyol faltered to a 14th-place finish. His performances for a lacklustre side have allowed him to become the standout candidate for an upgrade, and he could provide the perfect marriage with Villa.

However, the forward does not bring just goals. The 5-foot-9 striker’s link-up play is also phenomenal, whilst he possesses an incredible desire to do the dirty work. Perhaps this combination is what led to James Dodd labelling the attacker “emphatic”.

De Tomas sits in the 99th percentile for pass completion rate per 90 amongst strikers in Europe’s big five leagues, while he is also in the 94th percentile for clearances over the past 12 months. His passing is close to perfect, but he obviously can provide a fluidity that could work well with Villa’s many attacking options.

It should come as no surprise therefore to see his average SofaScore rating at an impressive 7.09, outlining him as Espanyol’s best performer of those who played over three matches last season.

Should Aston Villa replace Danny Ings so soon?

Yes, he’s had his chance

Yes, he's had his chance

No, he can still offer something

No, he can still offer something

His introduction could spell the end for Danny Ings, who was only recruited last summer for £25m. Just seven league goals last year was wholly disappointing for a man who clearly has such an eye for goal, and it could suggest the decline of his poacher’s instinct.

He recently admitted that his debut season for the Villains had been “underwhelming” and perhaps now is the best time for Gerrard to cash in on the forward and replace him with a wildcard in De Tomas who could light up the Premier League.

AND in other news: Reliable journo now reveals huge transfer development, Villa supporters will be gutted

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