Aston Villa have set their sights on creativity in the upcoming transfer window. Villa struggled to create chances and score goals when captain Jack Grealish was injured. He missed 12 games as Villa suffered a dip in form. Villa have reportedly made Burnley’s Dwight McNeil and Norwich City’s Emiliano Buendia their prime targets.
McNeil has been a fixture in the Burnley side since his breakthrough to the first team. He is their main creative source. Buendia once again has sparkled in Norwich City’s promotion winning campaign. The Canaries will demand a significant fee for the Argentine international
According to the Athletic’s Gregg Evans, Villa are are chasing deals for both players with and are only likely to add two to three quality signings this summer.
Dwight McNeil and Emiliano Buendia Top of Aston Villa’s Shopping List
Dwight McNeil Would Bring the Creative Spark Villa Lack Without Grealish
21 year-old McNeil has been a key player for Burnley since breaking through to the first team. He is Burnley’s main creative force with his pace, trickery and crossing ability a key asset to Sean Dyche’s style of play.
While McNeil isn’t necessarily restricted, Burnley’s style means he is usually stuck in a rigid 4-4-2. However, the shackles would be released at Villa with Dean Smith preferring a 4-3-3 during his time with the club. McNeil’s work rate would be an extra asset for Villa.
Dwight McNeil and Villa would seem a perfect fit. However, it’s unclear at this stage how much Burnley would demand for their star player. He scored twice including one against Villa this season and set up another five. McNeil would certainly be a signing of intent from Aston Villa but Burnley will do everything they can to keep him at Turf Moor.
Emiliano Buendia is Also a Player Admired By Dean Smith and Aston Villa
As well as signing McNeil, Villa also want to add Norwich City’s Emi Buendia to their ranks. The versatile Argentine can play on the wing or in the number ten role. That versatility makes him an ideal signing for Villa.
Grealish was largely used on the wing but once he returned from injury, Smith pushed him into the middle. That proved a shrewd move as Villa beat Chelsea and Tottenham with Grealish in the middle. The signing of Buendia would allow rotation between the two players and this could cause havoc for teams.
Norwich City want £40 million for their star man who enjoyed a terrific season in the Championship. The 24 year-old scored 15 times and set up 15 others as Norwich stormed to promotion. He sparkled once again and according to the Telegraph’s John Percy, Villa want to get their business done early with Buendia a main target.
However, Villa face competition from Arsenal with Mikel Arteta a keen admirer of Buendia. Norwich City want their asking price met especially because Getafe receive 20% of any sell-on fee. The Argentine international has been value for money with Norwich forking out just £1.8 million back in 2018.
Aston Villa have clearly targeted creative reinforcements in the upcoming transfer window. The aim is to ease the pressure on Grealish to deliver and give Villa further attacking options.
Aston Villa Announce Departure of Three Key Players of Past Seasons
Villa’s reshaping for next season has already begun with the club announcing the departures of experienced figures Ahmed Elmohamady, Neil Taylor and Tom Heaton. All three have played their part in recent success under Dean Smith.
Both Elmohamady and Taylor played integral roles as Villa set a new club record for consecutive wins and secured promotion back to the Premier League. However, both have fallen out of favour in recent times with Matty Cash and Matt Targett established as first choice full-backs.
Experienced goalkeeper Tom Heaton saw his time at Villa hampered by a serious injury. Signed from Burnley in 2019, Heaton was the first choice keeper until a knee injury at his former side on New Years Day 2020 ultimately lost him his place in the side.
Since returning from injury, Heaton has been back up to the outstanding Emi Martinez. Heaton’s departure has been expected with the 35 year-old expected to re-join his first club Manchester United.
All three leave with their heads held high and with complete respect from the players, staff and fans.
However, these departures mean Villa will likely look to shore up the full back positions. They could promote youngsters and, as we’ve seen, Dean Smith isn’t afraid to do that with Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Carney Chukwuemeka given an opportunity to impress. Both will be part of the first team picture next season.
Dean Smith could turn to their FA Youth Cup winning U18 side. Kaine Kesler and Seb Revan were outstanding in that run and Smith could promote them to compete alongside Cash and Targett. Villa are determined to utilise their academy which will save them extra funds to boost other areas.
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