Aston Villa could strike another Emi Buendia-like blow to Arsenal by landing Rangers star Borna Barisic ahead of them this summer.
Reports in recent days have suggested that Dean Smith’s side are one of the teams interested in signing the Croatia international as they look to beef up their left-back options.
And, it’s been claimed that along with Villa, fellow Premier League sides Arsenal and Wolves are also said to be in the mix for the £15k-a-week earning Barisic, and that they will be keeping tabs on him ahead of a potential move.
It may not have been a long-running ‘saga’ so to speak, but the battle between Villa and Arsenal over Buendia was a fascinating one to say the least.
The Argentine won the Championship’s Player of the Year award after helping Norwich to promotion back to the Premier League, and it was no surprise that he was attracting interest from elsewhere.
While the Gunners may have finished above Villa in the top-flight last season, it’s Smith’s side who look to be on the way up, with the signings of Emi Martinez and Ollie Watkins last summer helping to turn a team that just avoided relegation into one challenging for a European place in the space of a year.
And in a major boost for Villa, The Athletic revealed recently that Buendia made it absolutely clear that Villa was his preferred move from the off-set, and now that a deal has been done, should go down as a real coup and statement of intent.
Johan Lange may not have imagined that he would have to be battling the Gunners for another potential signing so soon after the first, but he now has the opportunity to deliver yet another blow the north Londoners by landing Barisic.
If he can convince the Croatian that his future lies at Villa Park than the Emirates or elsewhere just like he did with Buendia, it would be another superb masterclass.
Beating Arsenal to the “outstanding” Barisic, just like they did with Buendia, could be the second major sign that Villa are on the rise.