According to Hibs manager Neil Lennon, Hibernian midfielder John McGinn had dinner with Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce on Tuesday night, as the box-to-box midfielder came down to Birmingham to check out Villa, have a medical and potentially finalise terms.
“I think John met him for dinner last night (Tuesday) and he was very impressed with what Steve had to say,” said Lennon, doing press for Hibs Europa League tie with Molde.
The press conference (published on Sky Sports site) saw Lennon quite open on the going-ons of the potential transfer and suggests that Villa are in the box seat, with Celtic seemingly missing their chance to bag the box-to-box midfielder.
“I think the process is well down the line, certainly with Aston Villa and Steve Bruce, as far as I’m aware,” said Lennon.
“I don’t know if John’s head has been turned by Aston Villa, I have not spoken to him on it yet, but as far as I’m aware they are certainly in a really strong position in terms of getting his services.”
Excellent. Brilliant player, and really decent, smart down to earth guy. Great signing for you mate.
— Irvine Welsh (@IrvineWelsh) August 7, 2018
McGinn is a much-loved figure amongst Hibs fans (including author Irvine Welsh, see above) for his never-say-die attitude, toughness and non-stop running. He’s the kind of engine Villa’s midfield has been crying out for.
There was the feeling that McGinn was a potential Jack Grealish replacement option, but if Villa’s defiance to the approaches of Spurs remains strong then he maybe the perfect midfield foil to unlock Grealish’s potential.
Potential Midfield Exodus?
It does beg the question of the futures of the stockpile of midfielders that Villa currently have. Where does Henri Lansbury fit in? Will Mile Jedinak move on? He’s in the last year of his contract and Villa have other DM options. What of Gary Gardner?
When you start to look at the possibility of McGinn, Grealish and Andre Green taking up midfield berths, it suggests Villa have the basis of a more dynamic midfield than last season. Conor Hourihane should join them and in MOMS book, Birkir Bjarnason should be given a run at DM, which would give the midfield a more mobile and high energy feel (and hopefully more MOVEMENT!).
That then leaves the question of what Albert Adomah’s future is? The Guardian yesterday suggested there was interest from the likes of Leeds, Middlesbrough and Forest due to there being less than 12 months left on his Villa contract.
Certainly in the event of Grealish staying, the sales of Jedinak and Adomah would certainly help in terms of lingering FFP issues, although if they stayed it would give the Villa squad a solid feel.
The next 24 hours should throw up some interesting moves, as Villa do some eleventh hour team building.