Aston Villa are in the market for a new wide midfielder this summer and are seriously interested in Burnley star Dwight McNeil.
McNeil, who played 40 times in all competitions for The Clarets this season, has been the subject of interest from a whole host of clubs in the past few months, both in England and in Europe.
Why Aston Villa?
The Villains are coming of the back of a fantastic second season back in the top flight, just missing out on a top ten finish.
After narrowly avoiding relegation last summer, Dean Smith recruited wisely, bringing in Ollie Watkins from his former club Brentford.
It was a stellar acquisition for a side who seem to be getting younger.
Players including Watkins, Matty Cash, Matt Targett and Douglas Luiz are all still approaching their prime and only three players are aged over 30.
Shrewd signing Emi Martinez transformed the Villa back line and the side has a real chance of making an impression on the top half of the league next season.
Let’s not forget the club captain, either...
Does it depend on Jack Grealish?
The short answer is no.
The Birmingham side have the funds readily available to splash the cash on McNeil this summer without having to sell the most prized asset.
Captain Jack Grealish is routinely speculated to be leaving his boyhood team and the rumours will most likely be rife once again this summer.
If he does leave, that makes a massive hole in the team for a creative individual to come in to, and McNeil will be able to do just that.
If he doesn’t leave, that gives Villa two technically gifted players and frees a bit of a the workload from Grealish.
Is it unlikely to happen?
In the current transfer market affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is difficult to predict who is willing to spend big sums and who needs to sell.
Burnley, for the first time, are in a fortunate position where they don’t have to sell their academy graduate.
New chairman Alan Pace has promised funds to back Sean Dyche this summer without the need to sell.
But, it goes without saying, the extra funds would be a huge boost to any plans for incomings at Turf Moor.
The Clarets are in control of this situation for two reasons.
Firstly, McNeil is under contract until 2024 so there is no rush to sell a player who’s value is only going to increase over the next three years.
Secondly, James Tarkowski and Nick Pope are also linked with big money moves away from Turf Moor this summer.
If either of those two leave for the sums that has been rumoured, that would give the East Lancashire based side a healthy pot to spend with this summer.
Aston Villa are in pole position at the moment for McNeil but things can change very quickly in the world of football.
It’s not impossible but is improbable that Dwight McNeil makes a switch this summer.