libor Kozak villa signing

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 incomings 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.

 

Libor Kozak Villa signing

 

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 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.

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 Gabby and Andi have, which means he’s in direct competition with Benteke.

 

Libor Kozák baros
Milan Baros – the last Czech forward at Villa

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 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 expect 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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5 COMMENTS

  1. He was mostly used as a sub out in Serie A due to other various senior strikers being first choice over the last few seasons, Klose being one of them also Rocchi before that. When played he has had decent reviews and scores goals, just never got the chance to play a run of games. He may well be another very shrewd buy from Lambert, who has had his eye on him for a year now according to reports. Proper target man like Benteke. Helenius is a support striker so it won’t affect his development either. Overall I’m pretty happy with our transfers this summer, with Okore and Tonev yet to get going properly. UTV

  2. CraigWright I agree. If Benteke gets injured, then Villa would have a massive whole, at least Kozak allows Villa to keep their shape and still have a physical threat.

  3. Few players score a lot in Serie A – it’s such a negative league. Horrible to watch. We do need an AM, but perhaps the right man isn’t available for the right price at the moment. The rebuilding process is ongoing and we definitely needed back up for Benteke – if he got injured, we had nobody of the same style to fit in. That would have meant changing systems, which can really eff a team up. Kozak gives us a like for like option at least, and he is not costing a fortune. Worth a punt. 

    Gabby or Helenius, Benteke or Kozak, Weimann or Tonev. Those are not bad options, really.

  4. Great analysis, as ever, MOMS. An enjoyable read and I completely agree with your sentiments. It’s frustrated me to read/hear comments from Villa fans today effectively comparing Kozak, and his goal scoring record, to one Emile Heskey. I do not profess to have an intimate knowledge of Italian football; therefore, I will reserve judgement until I watch the player in a Villa shirt! Plus, as you allude to, Lambert’s track record in the past 18 months of unearthing talented players is very, very good. Who can honestly say they’d heard of Benteke a year ago yesterday?! 
    All the best and UTV,
    Milton Keynes Villa Lions

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