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Aston Villa are set to seal the £19 million signing of Bertrand Traore, but Dean Smith has revealed that forward Wesley may not return from his knee injury until next year.
Wesley, the £21 million buy, sustained a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury on New Year’s Day against Burnley and Smith has admitted the Brazil international is nowhere near a first-team comeback.
The 23-year-old was Villa’s joint-record signing last summer from Club Brugge, scoring six goals before being ruled out for the season.
Villa have replaced him this month with Ollie Watkins for a club record £28 million while Traore, the former Chelsea winger, is close to completing his return to the Premier League from Lyon.
Smith, the head coach, is targeting another forward before the transfer window closes after conceding that there is no scheduled return date for Wesley.
When asked if Wesley’s return was likely to be near the end of the year, Smith said: “Certainly. We believed it was going to be a 12-month injury and nothing has told us otherwise yet.
“It was quite a bad injury he suffered. He’s back now with us but is not training in any shape or form yet.
“He’s getting full range back into it and the swelling has gone down on his knee now. Hopefully he’ll be back as soon as possible.”
Smith is preparing for Villa’s Premier League opener against Sheffield United on Monday night, following another summer of spending.
Villa have spent around £75 million to bring in Watkins, Traore, Emiliano Martinez and Matty Cash, after avoiding relegation on the final day of last season.
Smith said: “We’re really looking forward to the season and we’ve got a lot of players who now understand the level required for Premier League football.
“I believe we’ve added quality players and we’re excited. I’m thankful that we’ve got two very good owners who have invested into the football club and are looking to improve year on year.
"We’re looking at improving, we weren’t satisfied with finishing 17th in the league. Our aim now is to finish higher than we did last season."