David O'Leary will step up his bid to sign Milan Baros from Liverpool after the departure of Darius Vassell to Manchester City.
O'Leary, the Villa manager, is effectively a striker short now that Vassell has moved for £2.5 million, meaning that the capture of Baros is now essential.
However, rumours are rife that Baros could be moving to DeportIvo La Coru"a in a deal that will involve Jorge Andrade, the Portugal defender, moving to Liverpool.
That could cause problems for O'Leary, who lamented the failure of his strikers to score consistently last season, and who now only has Kevin Phillips, Juan Pablo Angel and Luke Moore from which to choose.
Villa return from their pre-season tour of Sweden today and that is when O'Leary will attempt to open meaningful talks with Liverpool over Baros.
Villa want to pay £5.5 million but Liverpool want £7 million and seem set to hold out for what they see as an appropriate fee for a striker who now boasts a Uefa Champions League winners medal.
O'Leary needs a player with Baros's pedigree and scoring record. The Villa strikers between them only scored 13 goals in the Premiership last season, whereas Baros has scored 25 goals in 37 appearances for the Czech Republic, and was leading scorer at the 2004 European Championships.
O'Leary is believed to have £9 million left of his summer transfer kitty to spend after signing Phillips, Aaron Hughes, Patrik Berger and Stuart Taylor so far this summer for a combined sum of £3 million.
O'Leary also needs a new central defender, especially now that Martin Laursen will be ruled out for the start of the season. Villa fans want the funds promised to O'Leary to "turn into reality" and give him the spending power to strengthen the team.
O'Leary had been given assurances by Doug Ellis, the chairman, of the financial backing to transform the fortunes of the club.
And supporters seem prepared to trust O'Leary's judgement. Jonathan Fear, a spokesman for Villa Fans Combined, said: "I think people are surprised at the Vassell sale. He has never fulfilled his potential at Villa and his strike rate has always been poor for us.
"However the 'surprise' is that we were promised significant funds this summer for new arrivals but we have had more leaving than coming in.
"Not only that, but David O'Leary has obviously been forced to target the lowerpriced end of the market. As for Vassell, I would have thought with a squad the size that we have got, and the fact the purchase price looks extremely low, on the surface it may have been better to keep him.
"However, as he only had one year left on his contract - something the board have a bad habit of allowing to happen - and with constant links to Milan Baros, maybe the sale was made to clear the way for a big arrival.
"I don't think the Villa fans are exactly holding their breath in anticipation of these 'significant funds' transpiring but I'm sure everyone would be thrilled if, for once, the promises turn into reality.
"David O'Leary has stated that he felt Vassell had gone 'stale' at Villa and you have to trust the manager's instinct on these things.
"I think Villa fans are praying for some big-name signings but more importantly the news from the chairman is that he will finally relent and give power to people slightly less 'stale' and 'set in their ways'."