Transfers: Bree, Hourihane, Brady, Barrow/Ayew Swap, McCormack Off.

JAMES BREE

19 year old Barnsley defender has been repeatedly linked with a switch to Villa Park.  Given the strong possibility that fellow team-mate Conor Hourihane will join this week, it’s reasonable to presume that both deals are being worked upon simultaneously.

Bree may not necessarily be as straightforward, with a plethora of clubs linked to the right back.  An increasing problem Villa stand to face is stiff competition from Premier League sides.

Man Utd, Man City, Spurs, West Brom, Arsenal, West Ham & Southampton have all been linked.

Whilst this amount of attention is reassuring, a move for a youngster with just 40+ senior games under his belt would be a risk.  We have been down the road of “promising” players before, even at fullback, with names like Joe Bennett and Matthew Lowton springing to mind.

That’s not to say that this isn’t a risk worth taking – but would Bree or similar be afforded the time to develop, make mistakes and grow?

CONOR HOURIHANE

The heavily linked Barnsley Captain played and scored a late free-kick as The Tykes defeated Leeds at the weekend.

On his future Hourihane has stated in an unusually frank post match interview:

Aston Villa is a fantastic club. When a manager like Steve Bruce comes looking for you, it does turn your head a little bit. But we’ll see what happens next week.

For a man who is apparently held in high regard, Villa appear to have a march on rivals.  However, the delay has no doubt alerted competition, which doesn’t help.

Another interesting change also relates to the fee.  Originally this was expected to be in the region of just £1 million, but could reportedly rise to £4 million.

No doubt Villa’s desire to secure the Barnsley captain is being fully tested, with Bruce prepared to pay £3 million.

ROBBIE BRADY

The increased interest in securing midfield options elsewhere across The Championship is likely driven by the huge fee expected for Brady.

Norwich have rejected a £13 million bid from Burnley, thus ending Villa’s interest in the versatile left sided player.

The Irish international would have been a welcome and useful addition at Villa Park, but the delicate financial position dictates a more prudent approach to recruitment.

Modou Barrow

Swansea winger Barrow is linked today as Bruce continues to explore creative additions to the squad.

Barrow has been heavily linked to Crystal Palace, but Villa may opt to use Marmite attacker Jordan Ayew as makeweight.

Villa’s disappointing attacking and creative options are something that urgently needs to be addressed.

Most of the successful creative play is dependent upon Albert Adomah’s fortunes, with Jack Grealish’s contributions being patchy at best.

Barrow is reported to have a relegation release clause in his deal in Wales, therefore the offer of a switch could appeal as Swansea prepare to future proof their struggling squad.

ROSS MCCORMACK

There is a feeling of inevitability about McCormack.

His form, lack of fitness and early links to other clubs…something was amiss.

After the public lambasting Bruce has given him for failing to turn up to training repeatedly, a move could well be imminent.

The local press is reporting that the troubled Scottish international will move back to Fulham.  One wonders how much of the huge transfer fee would be recouped?  *Gulp*

McCormack, prolific wherever he has been, has struggled since day 1 at Villa Park.

Initial promise soon evaporated and he has cut a withdrawn and isolated figure since.

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