Aston Villa icon brands Iheanacho ‘squad player’, thumbs down club pursuit

Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton has openly criticised the club's decision to sign Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Unai Emery-led team finished fourth at the end of the 2023/24 English Premier League season, securing a UEFA Champions League berth in the process.

Iheanacho's contract with Leicester City runs out on June 30, but the Foxes announced Iheanacho's departure earlier this month, bringing their seven-year relationship to an end. Reports indicate that Monchi, Villa's President of Football Operations, reportedly engaged in discussions with Iheanacho's representatives as recently last month.

Despite the club's interest in Iheanacho, Hutton is of the view that it is not a shrewd move.

Hutton questions Aston Villa's Kelechi Iheanacho interest

Speaking to Villa News, the 39-year-old expressed his reservations about the move, stating that the club, now a Champions League contender, should aim higher in their transfer targets.

Hutton said, “I feel like they will (aim for a higher target). I mean we’re talking about a Champions League team here. You know I like Duran, I just don’t think that’s an upgrade if I’m honest.

“It’s probably an option where you’re thinking, ‘look, he might be happy to come in and be a squad player, be in and out when we need him, maybe play in the cup games.'

“I don’t think he’s ever going to take Watkins’ place or really push him that much unless they’ve got someone else they’re going to bring in to lighten the load, because Watkins for me is number one, there’s no getting away from that.”

Aston Villa icon brands Kelechi Iheanacho 'squad player', pours scorn on club pursuit
Photo by Icon Sport

Highlighting the need for depth, Hutton added, “You need somebody else, you can’t go through a full campaign as well as Europe just having one striker.”

Hutton played for Villa from 2011 to 2019, making over 100 appearances for the club.

In recent weeks, Iheanacho has become a subject of intense transfer speculation, with several clubs, including Trabzonspor, Crystal Palace and Everton expressing interest in acquiring his services.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as and Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
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