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Aston Villa plan to reinforce their defence and attack in the summer transfer window with a striker, winger and a couple of full-backs on Dean Smith’s wish-list, as reported by the Express & Star.  

The Midland giants certainly have the basis of a very good Premier League squad at their disposal.

But the difference in quality between an impressive starting XI and the options in reserve is less of a gap and more of a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. 

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A worrying lack of cutting edge has been brutally exposed during Jack Grealish’s seven-game absence – a run in which Villa have scored just six goals. Ollie Watkins and co have looked lost at times without their talismanic skipper pulling the strings. 

So, according to the Express & Star, Aston Villa are determined to ease the burden on the home-grown Holte End boy this summer with a new attacking signing.  

That’s not to say they are planning for life without Grealish – a target for both Manchester clubs.

But the events of the past few weeks – that 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United, those insipid displays against Wolves and Tottenham – have highlighted the risks that come with being so dependent on one player. 

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The report adds Aston Villa also want a striker capable of challenging Watkins for a place in Smith’s starting XI, while added depth is required in both full-back positions.

Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor will be free agents in July. 

The Mirror claimed recently Villa are keen on Reading’s swaggering playmaker Michael Olise, a teenage Frenchman with a touch of the Grealish about him. 

The Championship sensation would cost £10 million (TEAMtalk).

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