Despite the lack of any players signing for Villa in the last week, transfer links have made sure that it was far from quiet at B6, with the strongest rumour involving a move for Fulham striker Ross McCormack. It’s clear to see that Roberto Di Matteo has been busy behind the scenes trying to set the foundations to bring fresh faces in, so that he can meet Dr Tony Xia’s objective to have all the playing staff sorted before the first competitive game…
Move for McCormack
Back in early May, even before the Premier League season had finally drawn to a close, the Telegraph reported on how Villa were prepared to pay £12 million to break Ross McCormack’s buy-out clause. This was reported long before Di Matteo was even confirmed as the boss and today the same reports are no different. According to both the Birmingham Mail and the Express and Star, Villa want to ensure that they have a goalscorer that can offer a massive boost to their promotion chances next season.
However, despite these heavy links, is it just speculation fuelled by McCormack’s agent to get his client a move? McCormack will turn 30 in August, so the £12 million mark is perhaps a bit steep for his services. Plus, if Villa climb out of the Championship, would an aging striker who’s never played in the Premier League before, have much use?
Still, there is apparent healthy competition to sign him, with Norwich and Newcastle both reported to be interested in the Championship-proven man, who bagged over 20 goals last year. If he did the same for Villa and helped get the club promoted, then it would be argued that he would be worth it, even if he was a short-term option.
Juventus Keeper Link
As the search for a new keeper for next season is almost a certainty due to the sheer lack of quality we have in that position, we’ve been linked to our second keeper this summer. This time round, the 23-year-old Nicoli Leali from Juventus sounds a lot more inspiring than a move for Watford’s Costel Pantilimon. With the young Italian keeper being constantly shipped out on loan, he’s apparently available for another move away from ‘The Old Lady’.
However, it seems that Juventus are only willing to let him out on loan and the Express has reported that Villa are still looking to swoop for the keeper in order to add some much needed strength in behind the back four. Although not much is known about Leali, it’s certainly promising to see that Juventus are still willing to keep faith into their young keeper, proving he has a fair bit of quality.
At least more quality than Guzan, you’d hope, who is being linked to a move himself with Premier League Newcomers Middlesbrough. It’d be brilliant if we could finally offload him and see someone better coming in the other way.
According to the Birmingham Mail, West Brom’s Ricky Lambert is of interest to Villa’s manager. The 34-year-old has made his way through the leagues to get his dream move to Liverpool and Di Matteo is now apparently keen to see if he can still score goals at a lower level.
Despite underperforming for West Brom and looking out of place in the Premier League, he may be suited to a lower level and perhaps his with his goal scoring pedigree and know how could be a useful squad member when you consider the additional league games next season. Villa are yet to place any bids for the frontman but he’s definitely on their long list of striking options.
With the club underperforming so much last year, it’s now time for Di Matteo to try and get rid of any deadwood that he deems not good enough or not motivated enough to help him get Villa back where they belong.
This week Jose Angel Crespo (who?) has signed a three-year deal with Greek club PAOK. After making only two appearances in a Villa shirt, he will hopefully be the first of many deadwood players out of Villa Park.
Last week, Scott Sinclair was linked with a move away to Celtic as Brendan Rodgers’ first signing. However, the Express have reported that apparently, Villa have slapped a £6 million price tag on the ex-Man City winger. Sinclair may be useful in the Championship, where he excelled during his spell at Swansea. Whether or not, the reported £6m price to simply get a better offer than £2m, remains to be seen.
It has been expected that Jordan Ayew, Jordan Amavi and Idrissa Gana would be looking for the Villa Park exit. Both Amavi and Ayew though have been dropping hints that they might stay and help fight the cause at B6. Gana, though, has apparently been linked with a move away. According to the Birmingham Mail, the Senegalese midfielder is keen to move and Marseille are the first to offer him a way back to Ligue 1.
As mentioned in last week’s Villa Paper Wrap, Villa were rumoured to be interested in Reading’s young and upcoming midfielder, Aaron Tshibola. However, after a host of offers close to the £2 million mark were rejected, local Reading press have reported that the new Reading boss Jaap Stam has apparently outlined that Tshibola’s future is with the Royals. Apparently, the new manager is not even contemplating cashing in on the young midfielder’s potential.
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