Aston Villa could strike gold this summer with a swoop for Burnley star Dwight McNeil.
A Report from Football Insider this week has claimed that Dean Smith’s side have their eye on the Burnley winger, with the 21-year-old “one of the top targets of their recruitment team” and that the Premier League club are “lining up a huge bid for him”.
With his ability to beat players one-on-one – his average of 1.8 dribbles per game in the Premier League is the highest of any Burnley player and double that of the man in second – McNeil would ease the creative burden on Jack Grealish.
The £60m-rated McNeil has arguably been one of the few standout performers going forward for the Clarets, and it’s something that has led to Jamie Redknapp waxing lyrical about him.
He said: “Dwight McNeil is such a good player, lovely left foot, doesn’t stop running. Every time I watch him he gets better and better, he’s got real quality and certainly a player that the top six to eight clubs will be looking at, and that’s no disrespect to Burnley because I don’t like saying that sometimes, but he is that good.”
McNeil’s composure on the ball, something very much akin to Grealish, is what has led to Sean Dyche raving about him and his ability.
He said: “He’s a real talent. He’s a really good player, he’s improving, his calmness at the end – I’m saying get it in the corner – but he cuts in, and his calmness to cross it into a dangerous area, and then gets his reward.
“Before then, his calmness to dribble out of trouble – he’s a really good player, really good, and he can only mature.”
Dean Smith could give Grealish a real partner in crime and ensure opposition defences don’t just double-up on the England international and try and shut him out of the game.
McNeil’s arrival could be the key to offering Villa another string to their bow and taking some of the pressure off of their captain’s shoulders.