Villa boss: ‘I still believe in Kod’

By Phil Jennings

DEAN Smith insists Jonathan Kodjia can be a Premier League hit this season.

Smith had been looking for another forward before the transfer window closed – but there were no more additions to his squad.

It means the only recognised striker in Smith’s £130million summer spending spree is record £22million signing Wesley Moraes.

But Smith says he is confident that, while he has strengthened hugely in other areas, Villa still have enough strike power for the top flight ahead of Saturday’s season opener at Tottenham.

And he believes Kodjia can still be a key man for Villa. The player was tipped to be sold to raise funds for a new signing, but he did not leave.

Smith also has Keinan Davis in his ranks after an injury hit campaign last season – but neither player were first choices last season with Tammy Abraham netting 26 goals while on loan from Chelsea.

The Villa boss says he will make use of Kodjia and told reporters: “I feel Jonathan Kodjia’s game is more suited to the Premier League than it was the Championship. I think he can be a big player for us this season.

“You only have to speak to our players to find out what they think of Keinan Davis. He bullies them in training. I had no qualms in keeping the both of them.

“I think there are goals in the team all over. Wesley is not an out-and-out goalscorer.

“If you look at his record at Bruges last season he scored a number of goals but also made a number of assists as well.

“Jota at Birmingham is the same. Trezeguet is the same. Anwar El Ghazi, the same. All these players can do that.”

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