The lowdown on Libor Kozák – Aston Villa’s Transfer deadline man

Blog by: My Old Man Said

Libor Kozak presented As new Aston Villa signing (Getty Images)

Will Libor Kozák prove a better Villa Czech mate than Milan Baros?

So, at the time of writing the only definite information Villa fans have on any potential transfer deadline day incoming is the arrival of 24-year-old Czech striker Libor Kozák from Lazio.

Kozák has scored 22 goals in 79 games at the Rome side since joining in 2008, although he failed to score in 18 Serie A games in 2012-13. However, he was top scorer in last season’s Europa League despite Lazio only reaching the quarter-final stage, scoring 10 goals in 11 games, including a hat-trick against Stuttgart in the last 16, which is quite impressive.

Given that of his 57 league appearances for Lazio over 40 have been as a substitute, it could be argued that he actually possesses a pretty decent scoring record when measured against playing time.

The 6 foot 4 inch centre-forward is also a Czech Republic international with one goal in four games for the national side to date.

Kozák seems to be what infinite football pundits like to describe as an ‘old-fashioned centre-forward’. Lump a ball up the air and there’s a good chance he’ll win the flick-on. This won’t excite too many Villa fans who watched the Liverpool game though, as Christian Benteke did the same thing all day long – it’s the fact that the second ball was consistently won by a Liverpool player that was rather more problematic.

Kozák also appears to possess the other Benteke-like characteristic of uncannily being able to draw the offside flag several times a game, although his hold-up play does not seem to be anywhere near as good as Benteke’s.

The main problem though, is that on a transfer deadline day during which most Villa fans will have been pining desperately for the club to sign a creative midfielder, Kozák is simply not the kind of signing most Villa fans were hoping for.

The existing striker pair of Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonhlahor (Getty Images)

We know, we know – this sounds like a particularly greedy thing to say considering that the Czech international striker will become our seventh signing of the summer. But the fact of the matter is, it’s obvious to most Villa fans that what we need is a creative midfielder, not another centre-forward.

Unless Lambert is planning to move to 4-4-2 at home – a move which might be worth trying out, considering how little threat we posed for a large portion of the Liverpool defeat – Kozák simply will not fit into our side. He’s not the kind of forward that has the option of moving deeper or out wide like Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andy Weimann have, which means he’s in direct competition with Benteke.

It’s always nice to welcome a new face into the squad, particularly under Lambert –Villa fans must surely agree that he’s got a pretty good track record with his business as Villa manager over his reign so far – and bolstering the club’s attacking options was an advisable move considering how reliant Villa were on Benteke for goals last season.

As an isolated signing, it’s probably has the potential to be a reasonably good one. Lambert evidently does not consider Agbonlahor or Weimann as out-and-out strikers, which leaves Benteke, Helenius and David Bowery. Although it seems unlikely in some respects, it has also been suggested that in time Helenius could prove himself quite useful as more of a second striker option than a stereotypical centre-forward, and so in this respect it makes sense to bring in another player as back-up to Benteke in the bona fide striker position.

But it’s the fact that this signing has been made on deadline day, when almost all of Villa’s fanbase were hoping for a spark in midfield to be brought in, that has the potential to leave a sense of frustration. Not many Villa fans can have expected another centre-forward to be Lambert’s final port of call in the transfer market this summer, and surely the rumoured fee of around £6 million could have potentially been better spent finding that missing piece of the puzzle, the elusive number 10?

Having said this, hopefully any fans getting impatient will have learned from last season’s summer deadline day signings of Christian Benteke and Ashley Westwood that sometimes new arrivals are more promising than they necessarily seem, and so here at MOMS judgement is fully reserved until we’ve seen enough of Kozák to know what he’s all about.

We’ve unearthed a few hidden gems in the last couple of years, and if Kozák gets some game time off the bench in the next few games (which is surely where he’ll find himself at least at first at Villa) and hits the net, we’ll at least know that if Benteke gets suspended or injured, we have someone who can do a decent job in the same role up front.

For any Villa fans wishing to see some of him in action, here is that most dangerous of things, the YouTube compilation video (turn your sound down, unless you like to rock):

Let us know what you think of Kozák’s arrival by commenting below. UTV


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