According to MARCA, the 6ft 3 forward has been the subject of enquiries from Sheffield United and Aston Villa.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Aston Villa and Sheffield United have enquired about a striker from La Liga, according to Spanish sporting outlet MARCA.
The 29-year-old Croatian Ante Budimir that currently plays for Real Mallorca finished the season as the 9th highest scorer in La Liga last season. Budimir definitely goes against the grain of what Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow has previously said about signing younger players but his goal-scoring ability of last season could translate to the Premier League, albeit more likely as a back-up option to Villa new boy Ollie Watkins.
Budimir wound up finishing with 13 goals across all competitions for Mallorca and looks to be the type of footballer to take his chances when the opportunities present themselves. By no means would Budimir come to Villa and automatically become the number one striking option, but he could definitely push the striker core competitively in training and for a spot on the bench.
Villa locked down striker Keinan Davis to a long-term contract this past week & Aly Samatta is rumoured to be leaving B6 sooner than later. Bringing in a player of Budimir’s ability could bring tangible competition between himself, Davis and Watkins. After being said to be unhappy with time on the pitch at Crotone in Italy, Budimir was loaned out to Mallorca in 2018 and then eventually joined on a permanent transfer.
It has been reported that Budimir has a 15 million Euro buy-out clause and Mallorca are standing firm on that figure. Sevilla has also been interested in the Croatian on and off again since the January transfer window, with slight interest from Villareal as well.
Some Villa supporters may ask why the club may be pursuing a player like Budimir who played in a side that only managed to win 9 league games last season and were relegated. It wouldn’t take a lot of research to figure out that Budimir may have been an instance of a decent player playing in a pretty poor side. If Villa is truly interested in bringing in a serviceable back-up, Budimir ticks most boxes.
Again, his age and where his club finished last season are two big question marks to why Villa would be looking to bring him in. Budimir’s play style could be one that Dean Smith could get a lot of use out of. Standing at 6’3”, Budimir loves to have the ball at his feet and play with teammates in the final third of the pitch.
He touted a 74.2% passing accuracy last season which could mean that Budimir is more of a team player at the top of the pitch more than a greedy one. Regardless if Villa bring in Budimir or another striker like him, it is good to see Aston Villa wanting to strengthen their striking options for their second season back in the Premier League.