Zimbabwe international midfielder, Marvelous Nakamba, might have more competition at English Premiership side, Aston Villa, next season, with the club set to sign Spanish enforcer, Oriol Romeu.
The Birmingham club initially wanted to get Pape Matar Sarr but their pursuit have been frustrated by the French club, Metz, who are demanding a fee considered to be too big, for highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder.
Sarr has four years left on his contract at Metz, and was the top target for Villa, to boost their defensive midfield options, but the demands from his club have forced the Premiership side, to walk away from a potential deal.
Villa manager, Dean Smith, has now turned his attention to Oriol, one of the best defensive midfielders, in the Premiership.
“Now, one player who Smith does like is Southampton’s Oriol Romeu,’’ Ashley Preece, the authoritative voice when it comes to Villa issues, reported on Birmingham Live, yesterday.
“Villa have enquired about the Spaniard but the Saints are unwilling to sell.
“Birmingham Live have been told that Southampton view Villa as a rival club, next season, and aren’t willing to do a deal.
“It was the same response when Villa checked in to see if they could move for skipper James Ward-Prowse which, again, is unlikely to happen now, despite some early advances shortly after last season concluded.
“Villa will want to add to their arsenal in this position knowing Douglas Luiz will be in Olympic Games action until the beginning of August at the earliest.
“Marvelous Nakamba will miss a month of action in January due to his involvement with Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup of Nations, too.
“It means John McGinn is likely to be converted into a No 6 this season, a position he was used in for large parts of 2020/21.
“Villa want an enforcer-type in their engine room but Smith’s priority remains adding creativity – and control — in the final third of the pitch.’’
Smith is desperate to boost his squad, which performed admirably, last season.
“With Ollie Watkins leading the line, Smith is desperate to add one more player alongside Jack Grealish and Emi Buendia to play behind last season’s 14-goal ace,’’ Birmingham Live reported.
“Far too often last season Villa’s attack fizzled out in the final third — especially during Grealish’s lengthy spell on the sidelines — with emphasis in this window to sign another creative attacker, one who can kill off teams with a pass or goal.
“It’s back to the drawing board for Lange, though, given the failed pursuit of Smith Rowe while River Plate’s Julian Alvarez remains a deal, worth around £8.5 million, that could be completed should talks continue to progress.
“AC Milan are also speaking to the 21-year-old Argentinian international, a player who can play wide, central or as a No.9. “Speaking about his intent to sign a new No.10/winger to complement star man Grealish, Smith said, ‘we dropped off massively when Jack came out of the team in terms of our creativity, so we know that is an area we must improve on to help Jack when is playing or if he has to miss a game or two.’’’
One of the positions, which Smith will be hoping to boost, is the central defence. — The Herald/Birmingham Live.