Villa transfer embargo lets Belgian star slip away

Nigel Roddis

If a sale doesn't happen quickly, we should start getting used to seeing stories like this.

A week ago, it was rumoured that Aston Villa were interested in acquiring the services of Club Brugge winger Maxime Lestienne. The 21-year-old, who scored 28 goals and had 31 assists in the past two seasons, was apparently available for somewhere in the region of £8 million. Yesterday, we found out that Aston Villa have put a hold on all transfers and contract negotiations while the club is in the process of being sold. 

Today, we find those two stories merging. Apparently Lestienne is being approached by Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray of the Turkish Süper Lig, and while there is no deal forthcoming it looks to spell the end of Villa's interest. With the transfer embargo in place, Aston Villa won't be able to counter the offers put forth by the Turkish giants and so they'll have no chance at landing what looks to have been an exciting prospect. 

Now to be entirely clear, if Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe were entering into the bidding, it already put Villa at a significant disadvantage. The only thing that Villa have to offer over those clubs is the Premier League (which is stronger top-to-bottom than is the Süper Lig), but that is largely mitigated by the fact that both can offer Champions League play. And heck, there is the chance that this rumour had nothing to it to begin with, so this isn't the worst news in the world. 

But this is a significant despite the doubt around it, mostly because it gives us a glimpse of what the period before a sale may look like. There are plenty of exciting players out there who could help Villa immensely, but we will have to sit on our hands and watch them go to other clubs until funds are made available. This is why a sale needs to happen soon, and this is why Randy Lerner's statement has brought as much worry as joy.

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