Some may see the fee as steep for a soon-to-be 30-year-old who has never played in the Premier League, but with the club needing goals to get back there first and foremost, one look at McCormack’s scoring record in the second tier will tell you exactly why he should prove money well spent.
In 260 starts over 306 Championship appearances across spells at Cardiff City, Leeds United and Fulham, respectively, the Scotland international has bagged an outstanding 116 goals, including 21 in 45 games last season to help the Cottagers stave off relegation with a 20th place finish.
|Championship||Team||Season||Goals||Goals MINS||Total Shots||Total Shots GAME||Shooting Accuracy||Scoring V Shooting Accuracy||Big Chances Missed||Touches GAME||Appearances||Mins Played|
It goes without saying that any team hoping to escape the increasingly competitive Championship needs a proven finisher spearheading their attack, and no one has guaranteed goals at that level over recent campaigns like he has when used in his preferred role up top. Even in a struggling side, the former Motherwell forward has found the back of the net with remarkable regularity, and having the likes of Gary Gardner and Jack Grealish feeding him chances can only help improve his already excellent strike rate.
McCormack not only provides goals, though, but also an impressive amount of creativity from his position. Among Championship players last season, the Glasgow native ranked second behind only Reading midfielder Oliver Norwood in key passes with 100, while also recording the joint-third most assists with nine after notching the same amount over the course of the prior campaign.
|2015-16 Championship Top Scorers||Position||Team||Goals||Assists||Key Passes||Total Passes GAME||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Andre Gray||FW||Brentford / Burnley||25||9||40||13.67||69%||43||3,530|
|Jonathan Kodjia||FW||Bristol C||19||3||36||13.53||74%||45||3,499|
He has previously been at his best working in tandem with a target man, having bagged a career-high 28 league goals three seasons ago at Leeds while playing alongside Matt Smith, and it’s easy to envisage him forming a similarly fruitful partnership with Rudy Gestede. The former Blackburn Rovers man also found success in a two-striker system before joining Villa last summer, scoring 33 times in 66 games at Ewood Park next to Jordan Rhodes, and it would certainly give Villa’s promotion hopes a huge boost if McCormack could help him replicate that success.
Ultimately, In terms of realistic options, Villa couldn’t have asked for a better man to help with their mission to make an immediate return to the top-flight. Regardless of whether Jordan Ayew stays in the West Midlands, Roberto Di Matteo’s side were clearly lacking enough firepower to compete with the likes of Newcastle United and Norwich City at the top of the table before McCormack’s arrival, but they’re now arguably just a few pieces away from being genuine title contenders with more than three weeks of the transfer window left.
His signing is undoubtedly a huge statement of intent from the club’s new ownership, and while the money involved may seem hefty to some at this stage, it will look like a relative bargain fee if the team are preparing for Premier League football again this time next year.