This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Championship side Stoke City have held talks over a potential loan move for Aston Villa striker Keinan Davis, according to The Telegraph’s John Percy.
The Potters may require a new forward after seeing Benik Afobe depart on a season-long loan deal to Millwall and existing strikers Sam Vokes and Lee Gregory both being linked with a move away from the bet365 Stadium this summer.
As part of their attempts to find new clubs, the latter two were left out of the Championship outfit’s pre-season trip to Northern Ireland and are almost certain to be gone before the end of August.
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This leaves 34-year-old Steven Fletcher and the returning Tyrese Campbell as options up top for Michael O’Neill’s side, with Campbell stepping up his recovery after missing the second half of last season due to a serious knee injury.
In a bid to increase their depth and quality in this position, they have moved for 23-year-old Villa forward Davis, although a decision from the West Midlands side on whether to sanction this loan is said to be weeks away yet.
However, journalist Percy also noted the Championship club are confident of getting this deal over the line and with this, we asked three of our writers for their verdicts on whether he would be a good signing for the Potters – and if he’s someone they need.
Let’s see what they’ve had to say.
With Wesley now back to full fitness at Villa Park, Davis now has a battle on his hands to be the second-choice striker at the club and considering Villa forked out the best part of £22 million for the Brazilian, you’d naturally imagine he will be ahead of Davis in the pecking order.
Whilst Davis probably wants to remain a Premier League player and fight for his place under Dean Smith, realistically he’s not going to get many chances in the upcoming season and getting a full season under his belt in the Championship with regular minutes is what he needs at this stage of his career.
Stoke definitely need some reinforcements in attack – they’re rid of Benik Afobe, Sam Vokes is unwanted and that leaves just Steven Fletcher along with Jacob Brown, with youngsters to back them up such as Christian Norton.
Many will just look at Davis’ career goalscoring record and write him off before he’s even signed, but the reality is the majority of his appearances have been cameos off the bench – he’s never had the chance to be a regular starter at Villa.
But this potential loan move to the bet365 Stadium could be the making of Davis, and should he have a good season in front of goal in the Championship he could become a regular Premier League striker, whether that be for Villa or someone else.
This is the kind of signing that Stoke need.
Keinan Davis is someone who possesses the energy and pace to go in behind, and he would certainly benefit from Stoke’s technicians in the middle of the park.
He has struggled for consistent game time and goals during his time with Villa so far but always poses a threat with his direct running. He would benefit greatly from another season in the Championship, and should he gain enough game time, he would return to Villa ready for first-team action.
Stoke need attacking reinforcements this summer, and whilst Steven Fletcher is still a very good player at Championship level, Davis offers something completely different. Fletcher operates brilliantly as part of a two up top and his attacking intelligence would allow Davis to thrive.
Mid-table mediocrity is not good enough at Stoke, and the signing of Davis would certainly help them mount a promotion bid of some sort.
This could be a shrewd bit of business from Stoke’s perspective.
Davis was a bit-part player for Villa last term but the Premier League side have continued to add firepower this summer and that may mean he’s available.
While Stoke are hardly short of attacking options, the rumour mill suggests that O’Neill isn’t keen on a few of them and with that in mind adding the Villa man to strengthen his forward unit would make sense.
He’s a direct and dynamic player, and the step down to the Championship could be just what he needs to get amongst the goals.
Stoke will need to offload some of their dead weight but signing Davis would be a smart move.