‘McCormack has scored more goals in the Championship than any other player in the last three seasons, hitting the back of the net 66 times.’
Judging by various reports, backed up by MOMS intel, it looks like Ross McCormack moving to Aston Villa for a fee in the region of £11m to £12m is very much a going concern and could potentially be announced very soon, with the view of being available for the weekend.
With that in mind, is Fulham striker the man to provide the necessary goals to fire-up a Villa promotion challenge?
Goals, Goals, Goals
Unlike our own Rudy Gestede, McCormack is known for being more of a fox in the box type of player, who will also willingly make runs in behind the defence as he most certainly has the pace to do so. In a way, the Scotsman is someone you’d almost call a complete forward, as he’s effective when he’s running towards the defence and when he’s got his back to the goal, playing others in.
With his prolific finishing it’s no wonder that Roberto Di Matteo wants to cash-in on the Fulham attacker, especially since McCormack has scored more goals in the Championship than any other player in the last three seasons, hitting the back of the net 66 times.
His goal scoring ratio at Cardiff, Leeds and Fulham in the past six years makes him better than a one-in-three striker, certainly showing a lethal edge that would be very welcome at Villa Park.
Free Kick Specialist
As well as scoring plenty from inside the box, McCormack is also very capable of striking a free kick into the top corner and he showed this at Fulham last season on more than one occasion. This will be a great quality to have in the side as in recent seasons Villa have certainly lacked a consistent dead ball specialist.
The fact that free kick taking is one of his many traits shows how technically gifted the 29-year-old is.
Despite being known for his deadeye in front of goal, the occasional Scottish International also has a hand in creating a lot for his own teammates as well. This quality is what allowed someone like Moussa Dembele, who has just moved to Celtic, to thrive and progress as a young forward himself because McCormack provided him with the service.
Even though last season he scored 21 goals himself, he also assisted his teammates nine times, following up from the previous two seasons where he again gained himself nine and eight assists respectively. Proving that if he has a rare off-day in front of goal, he’ll be able to make up for it by setting up opportunities for those around him.
One thing that helped McCormack manage to score goals in a poor Fulham side without consistent quality service last season is the fact that he hurries and hassles the opposition defence. Several of his goals came due to good positioning and hard work by chasing down and causing the backline to make mistakes.
This will certainly be a welcomed addition to the Villa side, as the fans last season suffered watching an abysmal amount of effort when it came to chasing down.
Furthermore, the Rangers youth product is the type of striker you can rely on to play over 40 games in a season, as last season he managed to complete 45, only missing one game and racking up a total of 4037 minutes. This hard work has been one of the key factors in him securing the captaincy at both Fulham and Leeds and then being recognised for his performances through various Player of the Year awards.
Home and Away
A further quality which the striker will bring to the table is the fact that he can perform both at home and when he travels. With some strikers, they either favour one or the other and this can pose a problem over a long Championship season. However, McCormack has shown that he can bag goals in all situations, scoring 11 at home and 10 away.
McCormack looks to be the striker that we certainly need in a tough promotion battle, however, the fact that he’s about to turn 30 means that Di Matteo is looking at the present rather than the future and due to this, we’ll only be able to get potentially two seasons out of the Glasgow-born striker in his prime, unless he turns into Kevin Phillips or Teddy Sheringham.
Another minor weakness is the fact that he’s only five-foot-nine and won’t really be able to provide any height, if he leads the line on his own. Although, if we intend on keeping Rudy Gestede, then I’m sure that’s one thing that Rudy will be able to provide for us. You never know, maybe they could make a good attacking combo together up front?
Furthermore, £12million may be a little bit steep for a player just turning 30 and someone who’s never made the step into the Premier League. There must be a reason why a promoted team hasn’t decided to snatch him off Fulham’s hands in order to help them survive in the top tier. Was it a matter of the price?
It’s time for the football hipsters to step aside with their stats and Ligue 1 players, Villa need some blue collar players in the team to tackle the Championship. Tommy Elphick was one and now the bottom-line for McCormack is, as mentioned before, he’s a grafter and a better than a goal in every three games striker. So that’s hopefully a minimum of 15 league goals in the pot, straight away.
Yes, the transfer fee is steep for his age and his lack of experience at the very top-level (the price is pretty much twice what we paid for Christian Benteke), but it’s time for Villa to start to get serious about gaining promotion this season and a no nonsense striker is much-needed addition to the ranks.
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