Scouting Aston Villa transfer target: Jackson Irvine

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Jackson Irvine of Burton celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Burton Albion and Derby County at Pirelli Stadium on August 26, 2016 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - AUGUST 26: Jackson Irvine of Burton celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Burton Albion and Derby County at Pirelli Stadium on August 26, 2016 in Burton-upon-Trent, England. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images) /
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Mile Jedinak’s international teammate, Jackson Irvine, is the latest player linked to Aston Villa. Let’s look at Burton Albion’s star central midfielder that kept the Brewers alive in the English Championship.

Jackson Irvine is drawing interest with half the Championship after a spectacular debut season in England.

Irvine, 24, was Burton Albion’s record signing last summer for £250,000 from Scotland-side Ross County. Born in Melbourne, Australia – Irvine moved to Celtic at age 18, but made only a single appearance with the first team in five years.

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A variety of loan spells, however, allowed Irvine to showcase his ability in Scotland’s top flight. Those paid off with an eventual move to Burton Albion.

Irvine was nothing short of spectacular for the Brewers. In 41 league appearances, Irvine scored ten goals from a deep-lying defensive midfield position. Standing at 6’2″, the Australian showed strong box-to-box skills as well. Irvine averaged 2.2 tackles won per match with a further 2.4 aerials won. He switched regularly between a number six and number eight roles within the Burton set-up.

Irvine is a regular with the Socceroos. While not an automatic starter, Irvine often plays alongside Mile Jedinak in Australia’s midfield. He should have a busy summer – with Australia’s involvement in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

ESPNFC ran a piece here detailing Irvine’s commitment to Burton. He actually declined three separate offers to join the Chinese Super League that would have offered him a yearly salary of $8.5 million Australian dollars per year. At Burton, Irvine nets AU $430,000 per year.

I’m always one for upping central midfield every transfer window. It’s absolutely vital for dictating play in the modern football era. Irvine seems to have it all; he’s entering his peak years, durable, committed, experienced internationally, solid size etc.

Even if his goal-scoring output was a mirage, he shows the ability to find an occasional goal from a deep-lying position.

Ironically enough, Jackson Irvine is the perfect player to provide cover for Mile Jedinak. His market value should be around £3-7 million.