Journalist Ashley Preece has provided a worrying update regarding Aston Villa’s search for a new midfielder…
What’s the word?
In a Q and A for Birmingham Mail, the Villa correspondent has suggested that the Midlands side are unlikely to make moves for West Ham United giant Tomas Soucek or Chelsea youngster, Conor Gallagher, despite having previously been linked with the pair.
Will Villa sign another midfielder this summer?
Asked about potential deals for the two men, Preece stated: “Soucek/Gallagher not on Villa’s radar as far as I’m aware, both important players for West Ham and Chelsea.”
Previous reports had suggested that manager Steven Gerrard is a ‘massive fan’ of Gallagher, while the belief had been that the Villa Park outfit could look to exploit the doubts regarding Soucek’s future in east London.
The former Rangers boss will no doubt be gutted that the club are not set to pursue two players of ready-made, Premier League quality, with sporting director Johan Lange seemingly set to turn his attention elsewhere to land a new midfield recruit.
The club have already brought in highly-rated Marseille man Boubacar Kamara – whom Preece tipped to be the “signing of the summer” following his recent pre-season debut against Leeds United – although the belief is that Gerrard is keen on further reinforcements in the centre of the park.
The former European champions have also seemingly lost out on another reported midfield target in the current window in the form of Yves Bissouma, with the 25-year-old having opted to join Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur in a £25m deal.
With the aforementioned Kamara potentially set to take time to adjust to life in England, the club could well have benefitted from bringing in a player already in the division, with seemingly few better targets than that of Soucek and Gallagher.
The latter man made a name for himself on loan at Crystal Palace last season, netting eight goals and providing three assists in the top-flight in what was a real breakthrough campaign, with his relentless, energetic style also earning comparisons to current Blues teammate, N’Golo Kante.
As for the Czech Republic international, the 27-year-old is a simply colossal figure in David Moyes’ side owing to his 6 foot 4 stature, proving himself a menace in both boxes for the east London outfit as he ranks in the top 1% for clearances made and the top 2% for aerial duels won among those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues.
While he and Gallagher may undoubtedly possess different traits, the two men both offer a real dynamic, box-to-box presence, something the Villans would undoubtedly have been keen to utilise.
Alas, it looks as if neither figure will be lining up for the club next term – a fact that will leave Gerrard simply devastated.