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Aston Villa keen on Rio Ave's Mehdi Taremi as Dean Smith eyes second new striker

Rio Ave's Mehdi Taremi in action vs Benfica

Aston Villa are keen on Rio Ave's Mehdi Taremi as they look to sign a second striker in the January window after completing a deal for Mbwana Samatta.

The Iran international has scored six goals in 13 Portuguese top-flight games since a summer move from Al Gharafa, and he is said to be on Villa's list of considerations.

Villa signed Samatta from Genk on a four-and-a-half-year contract on Monday evening and before the deal was completed, manager Dean Smith said the club was hoping to add one more.

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With Aston Villa 'very close' to signing Mbwana Samatta, Dean Smith is hopeful another striker will follow

"It's something we're talking about all the time," Smith said. "Suso [Villa sporting director Jesus García Pitarch] believes the same as well, so it's something we're looking for and looking to press on with as well."

Villa are also interested in signing Leicester striker Islam Slimani, who is currently on a season-long loan with Monaco, but a deal would be difficult to conclude.

Islam Slimani
Image: Aston Villa are also interested in signing Leicester striker Islam Slimani

Smith was speaking as Villa also confirmed striker Jonathan Kodjia's departure to Taremi's former club in Qatar Al Gharafa, who are managed by ex-Watford and Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic.

The Villa boss said: "Jimmy has had a tough season. He came back from AFCON very tired after playing a summer series, got injured in the first game against Tottenham, struggled for fitness since, and struggled for game time.

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"With his contract up at the end of the season, we hadn't offered him a new contract, so he wanted to look at new avenues. We've allowed that to happen."

How to follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Sky Sports will bring you the very latest news from the January transfer market with the return of three shows.
How to follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering analysis of the biggest stories. Then join us at 7pm for the definitive round-up of the day's news with The Transfer Show.

Meanwhile, the Transfer Talk podcast will also be back at the turn of the year with more expert analysis from here and across the continent.

And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don't miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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