On Monday, while the press and Villans on social media were chasing the red herring that was Younès Belhanda, MOMS HQ got news that Aston Villa, as well as agreeing a fee with a winger, were in talks with a striker. Our grapevine isn’t one that entertains mere rumours, so it was intriguing that Paul Lambert was chasing another striker. It seemed something that would possibility develop the following week, until the fact that the striker’s club being listed on its country’s stock exchange forced Villa to decloak their interest a little earlier than they would normally. Villa’s official website stated on Tuesday, that Danish striker Nicklas Helenius looked likely to complete his move from Aalborg BK in the next week or so.
The 6ft. 5in. 22-year-old was voted the Danish Superliga’s Player of the Season for this season by UEFA after scoring 16 goals in 33 league games, the second highest individual goal tally in the league.
He has also scored four in 11 appearances for Denmark’s Under-21 side, and has made three substitute appearances for the senior side having made his debut against Slovakia last August.
Despite being considered more of a typical number ten than an out-and-out number nine, Helenius has scored 34 goals in 95 league games in total for Aalborg over the last three seasons, which amounts to better than a one-in-three ratio.
Despite these decent statistical credentials, Danish journalist Michael Qureshi (who first broke the Okore transfer story to the world) warned MOMS that Villa fans should not expect Helenius to be a world-beater immediately. he did suggest though, that given time, he could become a quality addition to the Villa frontline.
“I was surprised that he is moving to the Premier League, as I would have seen the Dutch Eredivisie as a more natural step for him.
“I don’t think he is ready straight away for the Premier League, coming up against top-class defenders such as Vincent Kompany, but I think he can develop into a good international-quality striker if Villa have the patience with him.
“Don’t go thinking that Lambert has signed Robert Lewandowski, but what he has brought to the club is a striker with the potential to develop into a great player. We haven’t seen him that much at international level yet, but if he does well for Villa he could become a regular for the Danish national team.
“Helenius is a very tall striker but not your typical box-player. He tends to do the unexpected and has a great shot. Despite his height, he actually has very good technique and often scores great goals by Danish league standards.”
As with Villa’s other new Danish acquisition, 20-year-old centre-back Jores Okore, Helenius fits nicely into Lambert’s strategy of replacing Villa’s aging big-earners with young, up-and-coming players who will be eager to prove themselves in the Premier League.
If the Christian Benteke situation can be resolved with a positive outcome, Villa fans should be optimistic ahead of next season, as a choice of Benteke, Weimann, Agbonlahor and Helenius, backed by the creative endeavor of Tonev and Bacuna, along with any attacking youngsters potentially promoted from the impressive NextGen side, looks pretty good at this stage of the summer.
Here is a little Youtube compilation of some of Helenius’ best moments for Aalborg last season. We can see what our Danish source means about him having good technique and having a more-than-decent shot on him! UTV
Thanks to Michael Qureshi for his insights
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