Transfers: McCormack Interest, Fofana, Alex Smithies, Mahmutovic Trial, Johnstone Loan, Gollini Out?

Alex Smithies

Villa are reported to be exploring a number of goalkeeping options with Gollini considered “too young” and Mark Bunn a barely able deputy.

What with Jed Steer remaining sidelined through injury, the latest interest lies in QPR’s Alex Smithies.

The 26 year old ‘keeper is a former product of the Huddersfield academy.  John Vaughen, Smithies former coach holds him in high esteem, and believed that he would have progressed to greater things already had it not been for injury.

“He was firmly in the England system and had represented them at every level up to that point, but that problem with his knee was a huge blow for him and that definitely halted his development.” 

“I was surprised a Premier League club didn’t come in for Alex in the summer. My initial concern was that with the exception of injury since Alex was 17 he had been playing regular first-team football, but that isn’t an issue now as he is starting week in week out.”

A fee of £4 million pounds is reported to be the necessary fee to prize him away from Ian Holloway’s London outfit.

Guessouma Fofana

Villa have been linked to the 24 year old defensive-midfielder after representatives from the club were alerted to a failed Stoke bid.

Norwich and Villa are both in the hunt for improvements to their respective midfields in the hopes of mounting playoff attempts.

Assuming that Stoke are deterred by fee and wage demands, it may pave the way for Villa to swoop.

The French footballer is of Malian descent, but has yet to represent either nation at international level.

He is credited as being central in helping Amiens secure the third division French title in 2015.  Fofana is also highlighted for his versatility, playing right back, centre back as well as a protective central midfield role.

Enes Mahmutovic

19 year old Luxembourg international will join up with the U23’s for a trial from tomorrow (5th January 2017).

Reports indicate that the defender, who can play across the entire back four, has been identified as a particular talent at B6.  The youngster will be monitored at the clubs Bodymoor Heath training centre over the next few days.

Mahmutovic, whilst versatile, has been identified as a prospect for Villa’s troublesome right back spot.

His meteoric rise is underlined by an appearance against the Netherlands in a World Cup Qualifier in November 2016.  Mahmutovic fared well given his age and inexperience against top opposition, rated ‘6’ for the fixture in question.

Ross McCormack

The Scottish strikers early Villa career has struggled to take off and there are strong rumours that Villa are considering offers.

Wolves, under the stewardship of Paul Lambert, have made “tentative” enquiries about a loan.  Villa have refused the prospect of a loan and will only consider offers of a permanent nature.

Any transfer fee would have to be in the region of the £12 million outlay to Fulham made in summer 2015 as Villa will need to reinvest.

Due to the Africa Cup of Nations and Rudy Gestede’s sale to Middlesbrough, the striking options would look suddenly very limited.

Sam Johnstone

Multiple agencies are reporting that a deal to bring the 20 year old Manchester United keeper to Villa Park is almost finalised.

Whilst there has been debate around the permanency of this switch, Johnstone will initially join on a loan deal expiring in summer 2017.

This seems to align to most fans views that a goalkeeping overhaul being necessary at Villa Park.  With plans afoot to secure a more experienced number 1 a priority (See above), the option of a promising understudy makes good interim sense.

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Pierluigi Gollini

Dropped Italian shotstopper remains linked with a loan move away, with rumours failing to go away as Villa’s public pursuit of replacements intensify.

A possible short term switch to Serie A giants Inter Milan would likely appeal, but might be contingent upon Gollini unseating first choice Handanović also.

Intriguingly a report in Italy does suggest that any move will happen as a result of a separate deal, with Gollini’s agent apparently holding the key to a successful transfer.  Gollini being the sweetener.

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