Transfers: Westwood £5m transfer, Scott Hogan shock hijack bid, Ayew Off & Neil Taylor done deal.

ASHLEY WESTWOOD

The much maligned Villa midfielder, courted by Burnley last summer, is reported to be nearing a switch to the Lancashire club.

Having failed to develop into anything like the player we might have hoped, his time at Villa Park appears to be up.

Westwood joined as Villa scoured the divisions for young talent and came from the infamous Crewe academy system.

However, the central midfielder, whilst a mainstay of the midfield, rarely showed the quality to elevate Villa to a level above mediocre.

Whilst by no means his fault alone, he was tainted by being a part of the hapless relegation squad & has struggled for form this term.

Westwood was also the very definition of Marmite amongst fans.

Some felt the shortcomings lay with those around him, limiting what a comfortable passer of the ball could do.  Others felt that his high pass completion rate underlined this.  Westwood couldn’t be criticised for trying hard either.

On the flip side, many (this blog included) felt that Westwood was negative by default.  And, “trying hard” doesn’t translate into being a quality footballer.

An obvious forward pass would often be disregarded, in favour of a nondescript sideways or reverse ball.  Few will miss Westwood’s inability to change a game, impose himself physically or contribute next to nothing in terms of goals or assits.

It was either too safe or just not good enough.  It was also infuriating to watch.

And let’s not get started on set pieces and crossing.

The former Crewe man never recovered his career in B6 after becoming the personification of Paul Lambert’s possession football.  Bad coaching may certainly be something to blame the club for, but the inability of Westwood to subsequently adapt is not.

The most telling action has been Steve Bruce’s focus on improving the midfield during this transfer window.  The arrival of Lansbury, Bjarnason & Hourihane likely sent a very clear message to the midfielder as to his future prospects at Aston Villa.

Westwood is expected to switch to Turf Moor in a deal worth £5 million.  A fantastic bit of business if achieved.

SCOTT HOGAN

In a surprise piece of news, Villa are preparing a substantial bid to Brentford for striker Scott Hogan.

Hogan was mentioned earlier in the window but a deal with a Premier League side (West Ham) was thought to be done and dusted.  However, as the window has drawn on & no move have materialised, a number of clubs, including Villa are attempting to hijack the deal.

Brentford had been coy on Hogan’s future, but it is widely reported that a fee in the region of £15 million was/is being held out for.  Astronomical numbers.

The scale of this fee was possibly enough to make even Premier League sides consider other options before resuming their interest at this stage of the transfer window.

However, with Brentford perhaps having had their star player’s head turned and no firm bids, a lower offer may well be up for consideration.

Villa face stiff competition from Crystal Palace, West Ham & West Brom in the hunt for his signature.

In our favour; We do have the advantage of being able to offer comparable wages to Premier League sides and to meet Hogan’s stated wish to move closer to Salford for family reasons.

Additionally, relations have soured with West Ham after they went public concerning their attempts to sign the Bees striker.

It’s reported that Villa will bid £9 million – funded in part by the sale of Ashley Westwood to Burnley (see above).  Watch this space…especially ahead of Villa’s visit to Griffin Park tomorrow night.

Neil Taylor

As posted yesterday, the deal for Swansea’s Neil Taylor appears to be on.

This is now reported to be deal including Jordan Ayew going the other way plus £5 million in cash to Villa.

Whilst on the face of it Villa might not appear to be getting the best end of the player deal, the cash is certainly a sweetener.  It also goes some way towards meeting Ayew’s true value, rather than the £8.5 million Villa paid to Lorient in 2015.

Ayew has shown limited glimpses of his talent and even less to suggest that he would be a key figure in any Villa resurgence.  Could he go on to be a top player?  Maybe, but as much will depend upon his attitude over any talent which lies within him.

Neil Taylor is undergoing a medical tonight at Bodymoor Heath, with an announcement expected tomorrow.

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