Recent news around Villa has been a lot brighter than usual as the feel good factor of winning games at Villa Park returns. With a vital Christmas period of games underway, media attention is starting to divert to the January window, with Villa boss Steve Bruce announcing that business is starting to be done.
“I already have one I hope in the bag, verbally. That will be good for us,” said Steve Bruce last week. “By this afternoon I possibly could have two, which would be a really good addition to us.
It seems that Bruce is taking advantage of having Tony Xia currently in town to do his January shopping before Christmas. The Villa boss confirmed he’s made advanced moves to bring in some new faces in last week’s press rounds, highlighted in the The Express, who reported on how Villa have apparently already sealed a loan deal.
Who could the two signings be?
The loan move, according to The Telegraph, looks to be Manchester United keeper Sam Johnstone. Despite Pierluigi Gollini signing in the summer, Bruce is keen to bring in the 23-year-old in order to have strength in depth when it comes to goalkeepers. This could very well be the loan signing that we’ve already got a verbal agreement for and will most likely become Bruce’s first signing as Villa boss.
Other reports have suggested that Sunderland’s Vito Mannone could be a more permanent keeper target.
Another possible loan touted about has been 24-year-old Arsenal full-back Carl Jenkinson to give Alan Hutton some competition.
In terms of possible bigger transfers, The Mirror have linked Villa with a move for Everton’s James McCarthy, after it’s been revealed that the midfielder is unsettled at Goodison. Apparently, we’re in the mix with the likes of Crystal Palace and the Albion. So it’ll be difficult to see us snatching Irish International in January but Tony Xia has revealed that Bruce will have money to spend so there could be a big signing for the right player.
The local Norwich rag, The Eastern Daily Press, offer the alternative of Republic of Ireland international Robbie Brady, who previously worked under Bruce at Hull City.
Their source though is The Sun and the suggestion that Villa would have to pay Norwich £10m and then Brady £50,000-a-week to secure his services, seems like a deal that Doctor Tony wouldn’t be rushing to do anytime soon.
Steve Bruce confirmed that one or two may leave B6 during the January window and Libor Kozak is the most likely to be one of those. The Birmingham Mail reported on how the Czech may be leaving for Turkey after Bruce confirmed the 27-year-old was free to leave next month. Kozak has only made 20 appearances in Claret and Blue after signing in 2013.
Furthermore, Jordan Amavi has also pledged his loyalty to Villa in an interview with French website ‘sofoot’, declaring that he isn’t thinking about leaving the club because he’s happy here.
Staying with outgoings, The Daily Record has kept the ball rolling on the rumour that Villa prospect Rushian Hepburn-Murphy is planning to exit B6 for Rangers. Villa haven’t managed to get the 18-year-old to sign on the dotted line just yet and if we don’t seal a deal quickly, Rangers could pick him up for a compensation fee of £220,000 next month.
Having seen Hepburn-Murphy blow both hot and cold in preseason and for the Villa U-23’s, it’s hard to get caught up with the hype about him.
Jonathan Kodjia has been on fire in claret and blue recently and after scoring three goals in three games in November, he won the PFA Championship player of the month award after a vote. It’s certainly a well deserved achievement as Kodjia has been key to Villa’s current form. Imagine Villa without him this season…not a great thought.
Super Jacky Grealish
After a fantastic performance against Cardiff and being the match winner against Wigan, Jack Grealish has revealed that he prefers being on the back pages rather than the front. The Daily Star reported on how the 21-year-old is keen to keep grabbing goals and assists to help Villa climb up the table. Steve Bruce has got the youngster’s head in the right place and he’s now rewarding his manager with some early signs of form.
That was the first time he’s scored a goal that’s won the game for this side and this interview reveals that the Brummie-born attacker wants to harness this feeling by doing the same a lot more often in the future.
It’ll be interesting to see if Bruce starts him regularly away from Villa Park over the December period.
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