Who is Aston Villa’s new signing Wesley Moraes?

After a stunning mid-season recovery under Dean Smith where 10 wins in 10 propelled them to the play-offs before victory against Derby in the final at Wembley, one of the biggest clubs in English football have returned to where they belong and mean business.

The Villans are back in the Premier League and, with their ambitious American owners, are ensuring they can survive in the upcoming 2018/19 season. With Tammy Abraham returning to Stamford Bridge after his successful season in the Championship, Villa have reportedly found his replacement in the form of Wesley Moraes.

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The Brazilian has continued to impressive for Club Brugge this season and according to HLN Sport’s Kristof Terreur, will be playing at Villa Park for the upcoming season. The fee is rumoured to be in the region of £22 million for Moraes and here’s what Villa fans can expect from their new big money signing:

Background

Moraes began his career with the little known AS Trencin in the Slovakian Super League. Immediately the at the time 18 year old showed his promise with 6 goals in 18 league appearances alongside goals in the 2 goals in 2 Champions League games in the 2015/16 season.

After just a year in Slovakia, Club Brugge saw the Brazilian’s potential and brought him to Belgium in January 2016. Since then, he has continued to score frequently whilst also creating chances for teammates.

Development

The forward has developed during his time in Belgium, improving his output year on year as shown below.

Moraes in the Belgium Pro League

2016/17: 6 goals and 3 assists in 25 games

2017/18: 11 goals and 3 assists in 38 games

2018/19: 13 goals and 7 assists in 38 games

Alongside progression domestically, Moraes has also scored twice in the Champions League and once in the Europa league this season.

Style of Play

As shown in the video, the 6 ft 3 striker is not your typical short, agile and fast Brazilian forward. But like Tammy Abraham, he offers Villa a physical presence and a focal point up front.

Moraes is a very intelligent forward, constantly making effective runs knowing he doesn’t have the pace to run for days on end. He could certainly be considered a poacher, who wants the ball at his feet to then score within 2-3 touches. Again, similar to Abraham.

As expected with his physical stature, he is powerful and difficult to push off the ball whilst also being a aerial threat. But alongside goal scoring, he is in fact an effective creator, as shown by his 7 assists this season. With his ability to hold up the ball, he would provide an outlet to either begin an attack or finish it..

Judgement

It is evident Villa have gone for an Abraham like for like replacement with Wesley Moraes. He displays them same physical qualities alongside finishing ability that the Chelsea loanee did with the added quality of providing for his teammates too.

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£22 million is a high fee for someone that is not Premier League proven and from a smaller league (no offence to anyone from Belgium), but it could prove to be smart business from Villa, considering Newcastle were also interested in the forward and how easily he could fit into Dean Smith’s existing system.

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