Aston Villa should make a summer push for Jack Hendry, with the centre-back potentially available for a transfer following a permanent move to Oostende.
The 25-year-old currently plays on loan for the Belgian side, with the club having an option to sign him on a more permanent basis from Scottish giants Celtic for less than £2m.
Now, 90min claim that Oostende are “well aware” of the interest being generated from Premier League sides, including the likes of Villa, Brighton, Wolves, West Ham and others.
It’s suggested that “Oostende feel they may be able to sell Hendry on to one of the English sides for a fee of around £10m”, and that “there is a big chance to Hendry will end up in England next season”.
Standing at an imposing 6 foot 4, Hendry looks like he’s perfectly built for the Premier League in terms of his sheer size and presence, but according to his manager at Oostende, Alexander Blessin, he’s also very much a leader in the mould of a Tyrone Mings.
He said: “He’s a great talker in defence. He makes the people he’s playing with better. You can see them listening to him. He’s been a tower of experience for us.”
“Jack’s the most important member of the team this season and he’s one of the best defenders in the league. He can defend, he’s fast and he’s also a useful weapon at attacks because of his height.”
That leadership quality and ability to rally those around him is something Villa have been seeing with Mings and his progression over the past couple of seasons into an established England international.
At 25, Hendry’s no longer a young talent waiting for his break. But his performances at Oostende this season show he could still be a very shrewd signing from Johan Lange.
As per Whoscored, he averages 1.2 tackles and 2.9 aerial duels won per game in the Belgian top-flight, which are both better than what Mings has managed in the Premier League (0.6 and 2.8 respectively) – the duo’s height certainly a major factor in why they are so successful in the air.
While, of course, Hendry’s been playing in a far less competitive league, his previous experience with Celtic, and the way Blessin has raved about his leadership skills, makes him a potentially good signing for Smith at Villa.
Meanwhile, this Villa target is perfect for Dean Smith…