Aston Villa could be able to secure a deal for Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix, according to journalist Pete O’Rourke.
Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, the transfer insider insisted that a deal for the Frenchman – who has been tipped to move Villa Park this summer – could be ‘more achievable’ than that of Liverpool centre-back Joe Gomez.
Amid speculation regarding a potential move to the Midlands for the Reds defender, O’Rourke suggested that it could be Lacroix who proves easier to sign, saying: “Lacroix could be a more achievable target for Aston Villa right now. They could maybe put in a decent offer for him. I’m sure Wolfsburg reluctantly might consider selling him to get the money.”
Reports in Germany have suggested that the 22-year-old has a €40m (£34m) release clause in his existing contract, ensuring that a deal could well be struck if Villa are willing to cough up the required fee.
The 6 foot 3 colossus has earned comparisons to Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand for his quality both in and out of possession, although for the Villans his style of play could well evoke memories of another hero of the past in former Republic of Ireland international Paul McGrath.
Plucked from the Red Devils in 1989, the immensely talented defender emerged as a cult figure at Villa Park over the next seven years, notably winning two League Cups and securing a second-place finish in the inaugural Premier League season. Indeed, he was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year for his form in that 1992/93 campaign.
Nicknamed ‘God’ by the Villa faithful, McGrath remains a hugely popular at his former club, with many supporters likely wishing that they had a player of his quality in the first-team ranks to help bolster what has at times been a leaky backline in recent months.
In Lacroix, however, Gerrard could well have found an heir to the Irishman’s throne, the youngster having that ‘healthy aggression’ (as per the official Bundesliga website) which is required to succeed at the top level.
It evokes echoes of McGrath, who was noted for his ‘pace, power and composure’ during his stellar playing career.
The most recent campaign saw the former Sochaux man impress once again, averaging a remarkable 2.1 interceptions, two tackles and 4.8 clearances per game in 29 Bundesliga outings, while also winning 64% of his total duels. With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise to see him dubbed a “top tier CB talent” by BBC Sport writer Raj Chohan.
In comparison to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, the £18m-rated gem also stands out from the rest, ranking in the top 1% for dribbles completed and also for interceptions, showcasing his ability to play out from the back but to also read the game commendably.
Although it may be a burden to compare him a player who Jack Charlton once described as “one of the all-time greats” of the sport, Lacroix seemingly has the speed, athleticism and quality to be a success in English football, with Gerrard potentially having the next McGrath on his hands should he secure a deal for the 22-year-old.