Aston Villa must land Liverpool starlet Curtis Jones in the January transfer window amid Alan Nixon’s recent claim.
In a tweet posted just before transfer deadline day, Nixon said: “Aston Villa. Big interest in Curtis Jones at Liverpool. A bit of the Grealish about that talented lad. Might be one for next window. Not in squad yesterday…”
In response to that news, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has suggested that Jones could be a very intriguing transfer target for Smith if the club are having a disappointing season.
He said: “It’s going to be an interesting few months, January especially. It depends how Villa do, if they do ok they might wait until the end of the season.
“If they aren’t doing as well as they want to, they will have to really push for Curtis Jones. Villa like young players and Jones is exactly that, he’s got real quality. Villa are looking to buy smart, buy young and looking to buy players with something to prove which is smart.”
While Jack Grealish may not be Villa’s darling anymore following his big-money move to Premier League champions Manchester City, there’s no questioning that he is a massive loss on the pitch.
In Jones, Smith could get someone who has all the intangibles to bring that same level of excitement that Grealish brought to the table, while he’s already amassed more big-game experience by playing in the Champions League unlike his older counterpart.
Indeed, after Liverpool’s win over Everton in January 2020, when the teenage talent scored a stunning decisive goal, Jurgen Klopp sang the 19-year-old’s praises and tipped him to reach the big time provided that “nothing strange happens”.
He said: “It was an absolutely sensational goal, I love it. Let me speak about Curtis. Unbelievable player, Scouser, very confident, can’t wait to play in the first team. Rightly so. He is in a very good way, I’ve known him for three-and-a half years. He has made big steps, he will be a Liverpool player if nothing strange happens 100%. You sometimes forget, and we forget it in training, that he is only 18. Unbelievable.”
The Liverpool boss went so far as to dub Jones an “exceptional talent“, and that kind of praise is indicative of the kind of lofty heights Klopp expects the talented starlet to reach.
The £27m-rated ace’s ability to come up with something spectacular, like he did against Everton 20 months ago, has real shades of Grealish.
Jones steps up when the spotlight shines brightest, reserving his best performances for Liverpool last season in the Champions League. As per WhoScored, he averaged an impressive 7.37 match rating, scoring one goal and providing two assists in five games – no other Liverpool player bettered his match rating out of those who featured more than three times in the competition.
If Smith goes in for Jones in the January transfer window, they could move quickly to replacing Grealish in this team.