Stat Attack: The Lowdown On Aston Villa Target Odsonne Edouard
Odsonne Edouard of Celtic celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Ladbrokes Premiership match between Celtic and Livingston at Celtic Park on November 23, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Last summer Aston Villa broke their record transfer fee, spending £22m on Wesley Moares from Club Bruge - 12 months later Villa are set to smash that by paying £40m on Celtic's hot prospect Odsonne Edouard. 

It's no secret that Dean Smith is in the market for a striker, between Wesley, Samatta and Keinan Davis the strikers scored 6 goals last season in the Premier League

Whilst the reported £40m price tag is significantly higher than the £28m fee for Brentford's Ollie Watkins, there's undoubtedly a much higher ceiling with Edouard. 

Including a loan spell from PSG at Celtic before signing permanently, Edouard has scored 49 goals in 64 appearances for the Glasweegian club so far. 

The SPL season started back in August this season and Edouard has already scored four goals in four appearances for Celtic, including a goal in a 6-0 win against KR Reykjavik in their Champions League first qualifying round.

He has also scored an impressive 8 goals in 6 appearances in the UEFA Euro U21 Championship for France this season, France currently sit second in their group, behind Switzerland in group 2. 

Last season Edouard averaged 0.9 goals and 0.38 assists per 90 minutes in all competitions, and has improved upon that so far this season, averaging 1.03 goals per 90 minutes - but is yet to provide an assist this season. 

Edouard's fantastic scoring record truly speaks for itself, but it's clear that the Frenchman fits the profile which Dean Smith is looking for in his strikers. Standing tall at six feet and two inches, Edouard possesses the physicality to lead the line by himself, with Dean Smith often deploying a 4-3-3 or 4-5-1... a physical presence up-front cannot be overlooked. 

Despite his stature, Edouard is lightning quick and is very comfortable with the ball at his feet. An attribute which Wesley struggles with. Edouard is the perfect all-round striker to lead the line. From running at defenders at pace with the ball, to scoring a hatful of goals for both club and country, it comes as no surprise that Smith has identified Edouard as a target. 

Wesley struggled to adjust to life in the Premier League to begin with, the Brazilian wasn't blessed with acceleration such as Edouard’s - though this didn't stop Wes from scoring. Five in 21 Premier League appearances doesn't look the best on paper, just as both Villa and Wesley seemed to be turning a corner, Wesley suffered a season ending injury as Ben Mee broke his leg on New Year’s Day. 

Playing in a 3-4-3 system, with Jack Grealish tucking in and playing closer to Wes, Villa got the best out of the Brazilian. Playing as a solo striker, it's important that you can link the play well - which Wesley does surprisingly well considering his stature.

Averaging 18 passes per 90 minutes, Wes boasts an impressive 72% pass completion rate. Edouard also averaged 18 passes per 90 minutes last season, with a 67% pass completion rate - whilst Wesley edges it here, Edouard makes up for this with how well rounded he is as a forward. 

Villa will likely start the season with Samatta up-front as Wesley is still side-lined through injury. Samatta only averages 13 passes per 90, with a pass completion rate of 69%, which is surprisingly higher than Edouard’s. Though, again his goalscoring record eclipses that of Samatta's - so the 2% less accurate passes that Edouard makes can be overlooked. 

Whilst it's fair to say that the SPL isn’t at the same kind of quality that the Premier League is, players such as Virgil Van Djik, Kieron Tierney and even Villa's own John McGinn have proved that they are able to make the step up to the standard of English football. 

The last two players who signed for Aston Villa from Celtic are Stylian Petrov and Shaun Maloney, whilst the former had a greater impact that the latter - both went on to have successful careers in English football. 

Celtic are pushing for a higher fee as reports suggest that PSG have a 40% sell on clause in Edouard's contract, for £40m it seems like an expensive deal - but Edouard's wages will undoubtedly be lower than a Premier League forward such as Tammy Abraham. It seems like a gamble, but with a great risk, there's often a great reward.  

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