Aston Villa are battling Premier League rivals Spurs for the signing of Juventus midfielder Weston McKennie in this summer transfer window.
The Athletic claimed last summer that the McKennie was a target for Johan Lange and co, with Villa among a number of teams interested in luring him away before his eventual move to Italy to join Juventus – reports in fact even suggested that the 22-year-old had specifically asked about Villa and their interest.
Now, Italian publication Sport Mediaset have claimed that the Bianconeri are willing to let the USA international go this summer, with “strong interest” from both Villa and fellow Premier League side Spurs.
At just 22, McKennie has already built up a wealth of experience, playing not only top-level football at club level with the likes of Schalke and Juventus in both the Bundesliga and Serie A, but also at international level too, playing 24 times for the USA.
Juventus and Italy icon, Andrea Pirlo, is a big admirer of his, calling him a “rock” and saying: “He’s young and can improve a lot. In my opinion, he’s a midfielder who can play as a No 8 in a three in midfield, right or left. He gets in the box and scores goals but he’s also very good at winning the ball back. His role is in a three in midfield as one of the two players on either side of the regista. Last year we played in a different system, so he had to adapt.”
Dubbed as an “outstanding talent“, the £22.5m-rated McKennie is as Pirlo says, a real box-to-box threat. While the end product hasn’t always been there – he’s only scored 11 goals in his short career thus far – all the key elements are: the power, the pace, the tackling and the energy to get up and down the pitch.
As per Whoscored, he has an impressive career average of making 1.3 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game, while also managing just a shade under one shot and key pass per match too – a real indication of his all-action style of play.
Given his age as well, he fits perfectly into the profile of signings Dean Smith has generally made this summer – the likes of Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia in particular.
Young, with bags of potential and plenty of room to grow, but also with considerable top-level experience already.