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Report: Villa set to pursue out-of-contract Welsh playmaker

Hal Robson-Kanu scored a goal last week that made him a “cult hero” in Wales, but could he be scoring in front of the Holte End in August?

Wales v Slovakia - Group B: UEFA Euro 2016
Hal Robson-Kanu of Wales celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group B match between Wales and Slovakia at Stade Matmut Atlantique on June 11, 2016 in Bordeaux, France.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Aston Villa already have Ciaran Clark representing the club in this summer’s European Championships, but the Daily Star suggests Villa might not be happy with just one Euro player in the squad when the season kicks off in August, with the Claret and Blues interested in Wales’ Hal Robson-Kanu.

The 27-year-old winger, who scored the winner over Slovakia in Wales’ European Championship debut, is a free agent this summer, after failing to sign a new deal at Reading. He’d been with the Royals for 12 years — including the 2012-13 Premier League season, when he tallied the times in the league as Reading went straight back down — but let his contract run out in anticipation of a strong performance this summer in France, a plan that looks to be working.

But Villa’s Championship status will likely be their biggest issue if Roberto Di Matteo goes for a Robson-Kanu pursuit, as both Midlands rival West Bromwich Albion and Scottish giants Celtic are said to be after the player as well, and if an immediate return to the Premier League interests the winger, it could be curtains for Villa’s chances of getting to the signing.

That said, with the transfer kitty Di Matteo has at his disposal this summer after Dr. Tony Xia’s takeover of the club, the financial side of things shouldn’t be a concern at Villa Park — and if Robson-Kanu actually wants an enjoyable football experience, Villa is probably better-suited to do that than either of the other clubs the Daily Star mentions: Tony Pulis manages WBA, while Celtic is neat if you enjoy playing a bunch of meaningless matches, I guess. The presence of new No. 2 Steve Clarke, who managed Reading from December 2014 through December 2015, could also be a factor that helps (or hurts!) Villa here.

I think it goes without saying that Robson-Kanu would be a good signing for Villa, and that could’ve been said before his Euro performance that made our own Elis call him a “hero/legend/God.” And whether or not Villa are actually in for the player — tabloid reports always make me a little nervous — they’re being linked with smart, sensical signings right now, and that’s pretty encouraging.

Because while Xia’s made significant funds available this summer, if they’re spent at the same quality money’s been spent the last few years, Villa’s not escaping the Championship anytime soon.