Neal Maupay’s seven Premier League goals for Brighton and Hove Albion must have Aston Villa wondering why they didn’t buy him.

With just four months remaining in the Premier League season, Aston Villa’s lack of star quality in the final third could ensure their return to the top flight is nothing more than a fleeting visit.

A lot has been made about Wesley’s slow start to life on English shores and with the Brazilian international now expected to miss the rest of the campaign through injury, a harsh light has been shone on a severe shortage of quality back-up.

Keinan Davis hasn’t played in months due to a series of fitness problems and to say that Jonathan Kodjia has struggled to make his mark in the top flight would be an understatement.

And while hindsight is a wonderful thing, it is certainly pertinent to ask where Aston Villa would be right now if they had just bitten the bullet and paid the £20 million Brentford wanted for their star striker Neal Maupay over the summer.

“Maupay, for instance,” manager Dean Smith told the Birmingham Mail, explaining why Villa baulked at a deal for the fiery Frenchman.

“I personally thought at that time was a little bit too much. I love him as a player but the numbers that were getting talked about for me were too much.”

The irony will not be lost on anyone of a claret and blue persuasion, however, with Maupay taking to the Premier League like a duck to water – and doubling his price-tag in the process.

A wily, penalty box poacher, Maupay has hit seven goals in 17 starts for Brighton, two more than Wesley in four fewer games. And, according to the Telegraph, the 23-year-old is now valued at a staggering £40 million with none other than Serie A giants Napoli expressing an interest.

Maybe he was a £20 million risk worth taking after all.

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