Aston Villa are reportedly keeping tabs on Brentford’s Scott Hogan as they bid to add firepower up front in the January transfer window if Rudy Gestede leaves.
Here’s the lowdown on the £9m-rated goal machine.
Aston Villa transfer News: In-form striker targeted as Albion track Gestede
Who is he?
Salford-born Hogan started out in Rochdale’s youth set-up but was released in the summer of 2010 after just one call-up into the first team squad.
Hogan set about resurrecting his career with non-league side Woodley Sports.
Twenty-one goals in 27 games prompted a move to Halifax Town, where he joined up with his brother Liam.
He struggled to make an impact at Halifax, where a striker called Jamie Vardy was grabbing all the attention, and was loaned out to lower league sides.
In December 2011 he was signed by Stocksbridge Park Steels, another former club of Vardy’s.
Spells with Ashton United and Hyde followed before Hogan was given another chance by League Two side Rochdale for the 2013/14 season.
He repaid the faith with 17 goals in 33 appearances leading to a £750,000 transfer to Championship club Brentford in the summer of 2014.
Almost all of his first season was wiped out with injuries.
Yet the Bees had seen enough to warrant a one-year contract extension in the summer of 2015, tying him to Griffin Park until 2018.
He missed most of the 2015/16 season – after undergoing surgery on the knee injury that had plagued him during the previous campaign – and only played a couple of games at the end.
There have been no injury concerns since returning though as he’s smashed in 20 goals in his last 29 Championship appearances.
At 5ft 11ins, he’s not the tallest striker, but is a strapping lad and still carries a physical presence.
His movement off the ball is very intelligent – he’s actually quite sneaky the way he makes runs to unsettle and confuse defenders.
He’s always looking to run beyond defenders rather than play with his back to goal, which means he might offer something a little different to what Villa already have.
The 24-year-old is an excellent finisher inside the box, with either foot, and has that unteachable knack of arriving into dangerous areas at exactly the right time.
Only Dwight Gayle and Glenn Murray have more Championship goals than Hogan this season.
Aston Villa transfer news: Rudy Gestede – would you sell him?
His track record with injuries is bound to be a concern to Villa’s recruitment team.
He appears to be over his injury hell, but clearly has a weak knee.
Links to Villa
He’s a new name, but we know that boss Steve Bruce will be looking for British talent and players who have performed well in either the Championship or the Premier League in the past. A striker is not an immediate concern but if Gestede was to leave, Villa would look to replace him.
Would he be a good fit?
Bruce loves a grafter and will also be encouraged by the fact Hogan knows what it’s like to work outside football during his non-league days.
So far this term Villa have been unable to find the right blend up front and have relied too heavily on Jonathan Kodjia’s goals.
With the top scorer departing for the African Cup of Nations next month, a new arrival would help offset that loss.
Aston Villa transfer rumour: Middlesbrough join Crystal Palace in race for Rudy Gestede
Chances of signing him:
A promotion tilt looks unlikely for Brentford, currently 14th and seven points off the top six, and Villa might feel they have a chance of prising him from West London.
Having only just got the forward fit and firing on all cylinders, Brentford will inevitably put up a fight to keep him.
But his reported £9m price tag would be well within Villa’s budget providing they get back at least £6m for Gestede were he to leave.
Source : BirminghamMail