Wesley fitness key to Aston Villa striker plans

Villa will factor in Wesley’s fitness when deciding whether to recruit another striker this summer.

Aston Villa's Wesley (right) warming up
Aston Villa's Wesley (right) warming up

The Brazilian forward recently returned to action after nearly 16 months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury.

Boss Dean Smith and his coaching staff will use the closing weeks of the season to gauge the 24-year-old’s recovery with a view toward next term.

Villa plan to further strengthen their squad this summer with the primary focus on adding pace out wide and recruiting an attacking midfielder, with loan star Ross Barkley set to return to Chelsea.

But they will be ready to move for a striker should there be any concerns over Wesley’s long-term prospects. Former loanee Tammy Abraham, who appears likely to leave Chelsea, is one possible target.

“We’re starting to look at Wesley as a Premier League player again, rather than a player returning from injury,” said Smith.

“The next month will give us a big sign as to where he will be for the start of next season. That’s going to be the key to moving forward.”

Villa skipper Jack Grealish, meanwhile, hopes to make his long-awaited return from a shin injury within a week to 10 days. The home match with Everton a week tomorrow is the earliest he could feature.

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