Aston Villa are set to rival West Ham United in the race to sign Flamengo forward Gabigol in the January transfer window.

According to Eurosport, Aston Villa have joined the race to sign Gabriel Barbosa in the upcoming January transfer window. The Flamengo forward is likely to be available on a short-term loan deal, effectively putting several top clubs across England on red alert.

Commonly known as ‘Gabigol’, the explosive forward was linked with a move to West Ham, Arsenal and Newcastle United earlier this season. But his reported value of €30 million may have put off several suitors, although it appears the Hammers remain in contention to sign the player on a loan deal, along with league rivals Aston Villa.

A product of the famed Santos youth academy, Gabigol has been a revelation upon his return to Brazil in 2019. The forward has scored a whopping 84 goals in just 124 matches for Flamengo, instantly becoming one of the best players in the Brazilian top-flight.

The 25-year-old’s contributions in front of goal have helped Flamengo land back-to-back league titles as well as the Copa Libertadores in 2019. He is the competition’s top scorer in the 2021 edition, having netted 11 goals in just 13 appearances. Unfortunately, the Brazilian giants lost to league rivals Palmeiras in the final.

Barbosa on Everton Radar

Gabigol is a man in demand in the Premier League (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Nevertheless, Gabigol’s performances have not gone unnoticed, with Aston Villa keen on acquiring his services in January. The Brazilian international could be an ideal strike partner for Ollie Watkins, as the duo can offer an ideal blend of productivity and pace in the final third. In many ways, he could be an alternative for another offensive target in Paul Onuachu.

The Villans, though, are set to face stiff competition from West Ham in the pursuit of Gabigol. The Hammers are in the market for a new forward that can compete with Michail Antonio during the second half of the campaign.

David Moyes has targeted multiple talents across Europe, including Canadian superstar Jonathan David. However, in Gabigol, he could find himself a cost-effective alternative for the LOSC Lille forward, who is likely to cost a fortune given his current form for club and country.

Gabigol, too, has been in imperious form. But the option of signing him on a short-term loan in January eliminates the risk element while satiating Moyes’ need for an additional option in the goalscoring department. The Brazilian international has unfinished business in Europe as well, having struggled in his earlier spell at Inter Milan.

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