The Athletic’s Gregg Evans has dropped a major transfer update involving Aston Villa this summer.
Dean Smith’s side enjoyed an impressive end to the Premier League season, registering back-to-back wins over both Spurs and Chelsea and capping off what was a remarkable campaign for a team which only just survived relegation the year before.
Evans has now indicated that plans are already underway at Villa Park for the club to try and strengthen their squad, and crucially, it is being done without the idea of having to replace club captain and talisman Jack Grealish.
He said: “Villa already recognise the need for another wide player, and The Athletic understands Burnley’s Dwight McNeil is of serious interest, as is Emi Buendia of Championship winners Norwich. Extensive groundwork has already been done on both of them.
“It should be made clear, however, that such a pursuit by Villa is not to replace Jack Grealish. Grealish has had open and honest conversations with Villa co-owner Nassef Sawiris, chief executive Christian Purslow and head coach Dean Smith about his ambition to play European football. For now, though, Villa are relaxed about the situation after the 25-year-old midfielder signed a new five-year contract last September.”
After the success of last season’s transfer window, one in which the likes of Ollie Watkins and Emi Martinez were signed, Villa fans may feel confident that their club has things in order when it comes to recruitment.
Perhaps most importantly for them, and Villa as a club, is what happens with Grealish.
The England international once again proved his class at Premier League level last season, scoring six goals and providing 12 assists in the top flight, and it was no surprise that Villa looked a little lost without him – their average points-per-game this season dropped from 1.7 with Grealish involved to just one when he was out injured.
Therefore, news that the club have every intention of keeping him and are “relaxed about the situation”, planning on ways of building the team with him in it, should be music to the ears of everyone at the club.
Villa fans will surely be absolutely buzzing with Evans’ latest transfer update.