Aston Villa may have already wrapped up four major summer deals, although there is no suggestion that that is the end of their transfer business, with manager Steven Gerrard seemingly intent on revamping his squad ahead of next term.
Recent reports have thrown up one name who could well be added to that this of successful transfer activity in the current window, with AC Milan centre-back Alessio Romagnoli seemingly of interest to those at Villa Park, as well as fellow Premier League outfit, Newcastle United.
That clamour for his signature is unsurprising considering the 27-year-old is seemingly set to be available on a free transfer this summer following the expiry of his current contract, seven years on from having made the move to the San Siro from AS Roma.
The £15.3m-rated Italy international has racked up 247 appearances for the Serie A giants in that time, netting ten goals and providing three assists, while also notably playing his part as Stefano Pilo’s side claimed a first league title in 11 years back in May.
While both injury and the form of the likes Fikayo Tomori and Pierre Kalulu restricted the 12-cap gem to just 19 top-flight appearances in that title-winning campaign, he still averaged an impressive 2.3 clearances, 1.3 tackles and one interception per game, while also winning an impressive 68% of his total duels.
Dubbed “one of the best defenders in the world” by former Milan sporting director Massimiliano Mirabelli a few years ago, Romagnoli also been the subject of praise from youth coach Sandro Tovalieri, who described him as an “elegant, very technical” defender.
Amid doubts over the future of current Villa skipper Tyrone Mings, the £106k-per-week warrior could be the man to fill the Englishman’s shoes in the club’s backline, slotting in alongside summer arrival Diego Carlos in what would be a formidable defensive pairing.
Such a move would also seemingly see Gerrard have the chance to land his own Matthijs de Ligt, with the Dutchman noted as a similar player to the Italian by Football Transfers.
The statistics would seemingly corroborate those claims, with the pair both comfortable with the ball at their feet and providing a threat in attack. In the case of Romagnoli, the left-footer averages 88.3% for pass completion per game and ranks in the top 21% for touches in the attacking penalty area, while De Ligt averages an only marginally better record of 89.5% for pass completion and ranks in the top 20% for touches in the attacking penalty area.
That comparison will no doubt set pulses racing, with the Juventus man arguably one of the most coveted centre-backs in Europe, with Premier League powerhouse Chelsea believed to be eyeing a move this summer.
The former Ajax brute burst onto the scene in Holland as part of Erik ten Hag’s youthful side that reached the last four of the Champions League in 2019, with the then-teenager leading the way as captain for the Dutch outfit.
Although it has proven a somewhat tricky spell in Serie A since his £67.5m move from the Eredivisie three years ago, the 22-year-old still enjoyed a fine campaign last time out, recording 3.1 clearances, 1.1 tackles and 0.8 interceptions per game, while also keeping 11 clean sheets.
While his arrival at Stamford Bridge may appear the greater coup, the Blues are set to fork out a sizeable fee to land the 37-cap international, with reports suggesting the player has a £103m release in his existing deal.
As for Gerrand and Villa, they could seemingly land a superb De Ligt alternative for a snip, with Romagnoli set to be available for nothing.