Dean Smith could be key as Aston Villa eye £20m swoop for striker to break club record

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Aston Villa will prepare for a return to the Premier League this summer, and reports claim a £20m raid for Brentford’s Neal Maupay could be on the cards.

Dean Smith’s side saw off Derby County in the Championship playoff final at Wembley on Monday, and once the celebrations draw to a close, the focus will switch to getting the squad ready for the Premier League.

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Their transfer business this summer will be crucial as they can ill-afford to get it wrong if they want to try and avoid dropping straight back down next season, but it appears as though money won’t be an issue.

According to The Sun, the club’s owners will back Smith heavily in the transfer market, and that could start with a £20m bid for Maupay to break the club’s transfer record.

The 22-year-old enjoyed an impressive campaign this past year, scoring 28 goals and providing nine assists in 49 appearances for the Bees.

Smith of course knows him well having worked with him prior to joining Villa, and it’s specifically noted in the report that given that previous relationship, it could give Villa the edge in the transfer scrap to land his signature with Burnley, Brighton, Sheffield United and Norwich City all said to be interested too.

In turn, time will tell if Villa can strengthen their attacking options with the signing of Maupay, as it may well be needed as a priority given the Sun suggest that Tammy Abraham will return to Chelsea this summer following his successful loan spell at Villa Park.

Abraham was key in firing Villa into the playoff positions, and the void he potentially leaves behind will certainly need to be a filled with a striker capable of scoring goals consistently. Time will tell though if Maupay is the man tasked with that job next year, and if he can make the step up from the second tier to the Premier League and still find the back of the net with great regularity.

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