Aston Villa have stepped up their pursuit of Burnley’s James Tarkowski, according to reports.
According to the Daily Mail, Villa have offered the Englishman a bumper wage deal in a bid to tempt him into a move to Villa Park this summer, with the 29-year-old set to be available on a free transfer once his existing contract expires at the end of June.
This update follows a report from Sky Sports earlier this week that suggested that Steven Gerrard’s side were ‘in talks’ with the two-cap international, having already confirmed the signing of Marseille youngster, Boubacar Kamara on a five-year deal.
Moving for a player who has just suffered relegation from the Premier League may not appear a wise move to some, although the £19.8m-rated warrior has seemingly shown enough in his 194 top-flight appearances to warrant a high profile move to an ambitious club.
While not a particularly glamorous addition – amid rumours regarding the likes of Sevilla’s Diego Carlos and Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij – Tarkowski could well be the solid presence that is needed for the Villans, with the club having actually conceded more goals than the Turf Moor outfit in the 2021/22 campaign.
In a side scrapping for their lives for much of the season under both Sean Dyche and Mike Jackson, the former Brentford man still managed to record a string of impressive statistics, averaging 5.2 clearances, 1.8 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per game, as well as winning 68% of his total duels.
Compared to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, the Manchester-born brute – who has been dubbed “outstanding” by Dyche – has also performed remarkably, ranking in the top 1% for both blocks and aerials won, as well as in the top 3% for clearances.
A sturdy and reliable defensive asset, the one-time Oldham man seemingly has similar characteristics to that of former Villa captain Gareth Southgate, the current England boss having spent six years of his playing career at the club.
Never flash nor a standout name, much like Tarkowski, the mild-mannered centre-back also had the toughness required in his game to be a success, with former Crystal Palace teammate Bobby Bowry insisting that “he [Southgate] would smash you” when needed.
The one-time Middlesborough man helped Villa to League Cup glory in 1996 and to an FA Cup final in 2000, with the hope being that Tarkowski can enjoy similar glory to that of his national team boss.
Gerrard and co will also be hoping, however, that it doesn’t end for the potential new signing as it did for Southgate, with the former England international departing the club in 2000 after relinquishing the captaincy and handing in a transfer request.