With Aston Villa flying high in the Premier League this season, this summer’s transfer window could prove to be a big one in terms of whether the club can take that next big step.
And, reports in recent days have suggested that Dean Smith’s side are one of a number of Premier League sides who have scouted Josh Brownhill over the past few months, and that Burnley face a battle to keep a hold of him after his “hugely impressive campaign”.
Despite having a decent number of options in the middle of the park in the likes of John McGinn, Douglas Luiz, Marvelous Nakamba and new boy Morgan Sanson, Brownhill’s ability on the ball, and quite crucially, off it, makes him the ideal man for Smith.
The Athletic’s Andy Jones wrote: “To watch Brownhill when the opposition have possession in their own half is like watching a predator stalking its prey. It doesn’t take long to see why his style of pressing is one that fits in at Burnley. When you watch Brownhill, you are instantly struck by his aggression but also his awareness and decision-making.
“The midfielder is comfortable carrying the ball forward, having attempted 34 dribbles this season, completing 19 of them, giving him a 55.88 per cent success rate, and he has a trick up his sleeve when the moment is right. Brownhill displays a good range of passing and while he generally keeps his game short and simple, when the time is right, he looks to stretch the play in behind or switch the angle of attack.”
And, speaking after his signing, Sean Dyche spoke glowingly about the kind of player he had brought in, saying: “I think he’s a team player, team thinker, can use the ball, cover the ground when needed, a modern midfield player.
“You want a bit of everything, rather than one slot you can fill, you want someone who can adapt, and, yet again, we aren’t blessed with the money to buy players who literally fit into a system, we have to buy players who can develop and learn, and adapt to a system.”
Given the way the £40k-a-week earning Brownhill plays, and the intensity in which he does it at, he seems like a perfect fit for Smith’s engine room. That ability to do a “bit of everything” like Dyche says makes him the kind of complete, all-round midfield player who can drive Villa forward.