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Aston Villa pursuing pair of highly-rated Nice youngsters

Tim Sherwood has been linked with a pair of young Frenchmen, OGC Nice’s Jordan Amavi and Valentin Eysseric, however, the former reportedly has his sights set on a move to Lyon’s Stade de Gerland.

OGC Nice left back Jordan Amavi is a target for Aston Villa this summer.
OGC Nice left back Jordan Amavi is a target for Aston Villa this summer.
Kaz Photography/Getty Images

Aston Villa have met OGC Nice’s valuation of 21-year-old left back Jordan Amavi with an €8 million (£5.75 million) bid, and are also pursuing attacking midfielder Valentin Eysseric, the Birmingham Mail has reported.

Amavi’s gotten a lot of praise from many in France, and would seem to be the type of player Tim Sherwood would be interested in: A talented youngster who gets forward and helps in the attack from the fullback position — he scored four goals in his sophomore season at Nice, making 36 appearances at left back.

His highlight tape actually looks good too, and he led Ligue 1 in interceptions last year, seemingly making him a better option than either Aly Cissokho or Kieran Richardson from day one.

The issue? The player may not have much interest in heading to Villa Park.

Lyon reportedly put an offer in for Amavi that was rejected, but many believe the youngster’s set to sign for the French club anyway, with the potential for Champions League football luring him to the Stade de Gerland.

And obviously, you can’t blame him. He’s from Toulon, and all things considered, playing at Lyon should be more appealing than playing for a lower-half Premier League side. With a sale of Alexandre Lacazette likely to happen, l’OL should be able to find the money required to get their man if they want him.

It’d be nice to get him, and I’m sure we’d all love it, but it’s probably not realistic.

What’s more important, though, is what it might mean for the rest of the transfer window.

Micah Richards is set to sign — reportedly on £65,000 per week — to start Sherwood’s recruitment drive, but his pursuit of Amavi tells us a few things:

Firstly, Villa are actually willing to shell out money for a good left back. After years of buying bargain buys in Joe Bennett, Antonio Luna, Kieran Richardson and Aly Cissokho, Sherwood seems to have the position as a priority. That’s great.

More importantly perhaps, it shows the club may well have more money to play with in the window this year than it has in the past. Whether it’s takeover-related or not, being the first club to submit a suitable bit for an encouraging youngster is a good first step. Between Amavi, Richards and other players the club’s been linked with, we could actually be in for a solid summer at Bodymoor Heath.

It also seems to dispel the idea that Sherwood would only look for "good-old English boys" to join his club, which is nice. Villa have bagged some good deals from the continent recently — none better than Christian Benteke — but also a lot of duds. We’ll see if Sherwood can have a better record than predecessor Paul Lambert did.

As for Eysseric, it’ll be interesting to see where Villa’s interest in the attacking midfielder goes. He made 36 Ligue 1 appearances for Les Aiglons, scoring twice and recording five assists in his second full year at the club.

He’s an interesting prospect in his own right, and at the very least would push Charles N’Zogbia and Jack Grealish for a starting spot at the club. I’m not sure the position is one of absolute need at the moment, but having another option in the position wouldn’t be a bad thing.

That said, I don’t expect him to move if he’s not going to get regular first-team football. At 23, it’s time for him to start to cement himself as a solid footballer; if Villa can offer him a place in a Premier League side, he might be receptive to making the move.

The rumour also confirms how much of a treasure Mat Kendrick is, thanks to this tweet:

We’ll see where this interest goes, but it seems to generally indicate good things for our summer.

Like either of the guys linked? Think we have a realistic shot at either one? Let us know in the comments!