The net of Aston Villa targets has been cast far and wide across Europe, but it’s the players plying their trade in The Championship that look more likely to be in the claret and blue next season.
The club has yet to make a first-team signing despite being linked with multiple targets. A bid was made over the weekend while contract terms have been offered to another player.
According to the Independent, they are close to agreeing a £15million transfer for Matty Cash after Johan Lange and the transfer team saw £10 and £12 million bids rejected for the right-back in the last week.
The other two players who have been consistently linked with a move to Bodymoor Heath is Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma. The Brentford duo are widely tipped to join former manager, Dean Smith, in the Premier League in the coming weeks.
So, is targeting Championship players with no top-flight experience showing enough ambition for a club that survived relegation by a single point?
All three players have been linked with many clubs in the Premier League with Benrahma reportedly attracting interest from the heavyweights in the league. Chelsea was linked following the conclusion of Project Restart, while rumours regarding Arsenal never seem to go away for the Algerian.
The winger has also been linked with Wolves, Leeds United, Tottenham and Leicester City while Aston Villa remain in contention.
It is no coincidence that he’s been linked with big names in the English game as his return of 27 goals and 23 assists in two seasons are impressive and shows his qualities are beyond the lower tier.
The 25-year-old pace and dribbling ability will certainly light up the Premier League and could lead him to becoming Villa’s star man should Grealish depart.
Ollie Watkins is a similar type of player, who can play on the wing and upfront. His eye for goal has been impressive in the last year with his goals enough to win him the Championship player of the season award.
Brentford’s completion of Ivan Toney from Peterborough will accelerate Watkins’ departure, with a fee of £25m rumoured for the striker, who scored 26 goals last term.
He will fit in perfectly upfront although he is not seen as a player who will contribute the same within a team who is not as free-flowing as Brentford can be.
Another one who is strongly linked and likely to be the first of the three announced is Matty Cash. The right-back has had a stellar season with Nottingham Forest and has attracted interest from West Ham and Wolves.
Frédéric Guilbert good season may leave Cash second to the Frenchman but will provide a good strength-in-depth across the back.
So the answer to the above question is yes, they should be targeting these players.
Aston Villa is not targeting mediocre players from the lower leagues but is targeting players who can make the step up with years left to flourish in the top division.
There is certainly ambition shown with the signings linked and with the Brentford duo adding much-needing pace and flair to Villa’s frontline.