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Aston Villa twice missed out on Miralem Pjanic

It’s never good to dwell too much on the past, but for those of an Aston Villa persuasion it may still wrangle that they almost snapped up one of Europe’s premier playmakers in Miralem Pjanic, yet twice failed to get the deal

The Bosnian midfielder had caught the attention of clubs across Europe following a fine debut campaign at senior level with Metz during the 2007/08 season, with the then-teenager netting five goals in 38 appearances for the club.

After just one season with the French side, however, he was plucked by fellow Ligue 1 outfit Lyon, albeit while revealing that he had spurned the advances of others in order to continue plying his trade in France.

Would Pjanic get in the current Villa team?

No way!

No way!

Of course!

Of course!

Speaking at the time, the youngster revealed that Villa – then managed by Martin O’ Neill – had been one of the clubs he had opted to shun in order to make the switch: “I had requests from abroad, including Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Aston Villa and Fiorentina, but I wanted to stay in France.”

Having missed out then, the Midlands outfit again turned their attentions towards the free-kick “specialist” – as he has been dubbed by Juninho Pernambucano – three years later, with Alex McLeish keen on adding the player to his ranks following the sale of Stewart Downing to Liverpool.

Again, however, those at Villa Park were to be disappointed as he instead opted to head to Italy, joining Serie A giants Roma in a deal worth just €11m (£9.2m), with McLeish and co eventually signing Charles N’Zogbia that same summer in a £9.5m deal.

Since then, the 32-year-old has gone on to feature for more of Europe’s elite clubs, eventually joining Juventus in a £25.4m deal in 2016 where he would win four successive league titles, before he was moved on to Barcelona in the summer of 2020 as part of a deal that saw Arthur Melo head in the other direction.

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While it failed to work out at the Nou Camp in his debut campaign, the 103-cap international has impressed out on loan at Turkish side Besiktas this season, registering two key passes and 1.5 dribbles per game in the league, as well as 1.1 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per 90.

A midfielder of all-around quality, he has earned comparisons to Italian icon Andrea Pirlo, with the passing maestro having been one of the silkiest and most technically gifted players in his position in Europe over the last decade or so.

Having been so close to capturing that talent will no doubt be a real punch in the gut for those at Villa, with the club having had to watch on as he adorned the jerseys of some of the continent’s finest clubs.

In other news, Huge blow: Aston Villa now receive big injury setback that will leave Gerrard raging…

Article title: Aston Villa twice missed out on Miralem Pjanic

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