Steve Bruce is on the prowl for valuable cover in a number of key positions. Our latest on who he’s targeting for Aston Villa Football Club:
Let’s start with the most buzz-worthy news. Is Joey Barton a target to supplement the likes of Mile Jedinak and company? Maybe. The Birmingham Mail is reporting he’s at least on the radar for manager Steve Bruce.
The controversial Barton is still contracted to Rangers – with a contract running through the summer of 2018. The Glasgow side are looking to change that with a possible buyout after a training pitch clash with manager Mark Warburton left him on the outside.
Barton was instrumental to last year’s Burnley side that reclaimed their place in the Premier League. Any move for Barton must be weighed with the off-the-field baggage he comes with.
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A possible Barton acquisition would reinforce a position of scarcity for Villa. Jedinak initially struggled this season, as did Gary Gardner. Aaron Tshibola has fought off injury this season, while Ashley Westwood is not the preferred option under Bruce.
It’s worth noting that Burnley are said to be interested in a return of Barton’s midfield services.
Additionally, a pair of fullbacks – one left and one right – have seen Aston Villa scouts at their recent matches.
Luxembourg international Laurent Jans, 24, is on Dr. Tony Xia’s radar. Reports indicate Jans, a right back, would cost as little as £1 million; which could be worth the investment considering Ritchie De Laet’s season long absence.
Jans currently plays in the Belgian Pro League for Waasland-Beveren. The right fullback stands at 5’10” and has a well-rounded style of play from the back line. Bruce has to weigh whether he sees Jans as an improvement over the incumbent Alan Hutton, or merely cover so that Leandro Bacuna can be deployed elsewhere.
In case you missed it, Jordan Amavi exited France U-21 duty with a foot injury. This could prompt left back cover – in addition to the need for an improvement over deputy Aly Cissokho.
Another Belgian League player, Charleroi left back and Republic of Congo international Francis N’Ganga, is being weighed as an option for Steve Bruce. N’Ganga, 31, would come on the cheap considering his age and level of play in Belgium.
Francis N’Ganga has the added luxury of playing multiple positions. He’s been deployed at both defensive midfield and left midfield over his career.
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