With the second week of the window nearly finished, a new batch of rumours regarding players who might move to Aston Villa has served to keep journalists busy.
As last week’s iteration made clear, both Aston Villa’s chairman and manager appear to be operating on the same page – the club will likely only bring in one or two players during the winter transfer window.
Though when it comes to the players whose names we found to be linked with the club this past week, there was a common theme – they have been discussed previously and largely fit Steve Bruce’s stated goals for the window.
The players listed below are either attackers or have been mentioned with a possible loan move. Here are the four players we found to be frequently reported as targets for Aston Villa:
Daniel Amartey – Leicester City (estimated market value: £4.5m)
With that said, Daniel Amartey should definitely be considered as one of the possible loan deals Steve Bruce outlined earlier this month.
The Ghanaian moved to Leicester from Danish side Copenhagen in the winter transfer window two years ago. He was touted as a versatile player who could feature as a central midfielder or right-back.
In the past two Premier League campaigns, he made 29 total appearances for the Foxes - 19 of those came as a holding midfielder. As per goals and assists, Amartey managed one of each during that spell.
This season, the Ghanaian international has been on the fringes at Leicester. He has only made a total of four appearances in the Premier League. That statistic would suggest that Claude Puel might be willing to temporarily send Amartey to Villa Park.
However, three of his four total appearances have come in the last few weeks. He played at right-back against Manchester United (23.12), Liverpool (30.12), and Huddersfield (01.01). Amartey missed the Watford match on Boxing Day due to a red card suspension.
If he were to complete a loan move to Aston Villa, Amartey would bolster the squad’s depth in both defence and midfield. This deal would likely get the Football Manager “not a bad way to strengthen the squad…” from many supporters.
Though if he starts – as he has done Leicester’s last two EPL matches – tomorrow at Stamford Bridge, Daniel Amartey might have played his way back into the starting XI. In that case, a loan to Villa might not be on the cards.
Leonardo Ulloa – Leicester City (estimated market value: £4.5m)
Click on any of the links above and you will see that Steve Bruce is purportedly in for a double swoop on Leicester City. The second player that he is apparently keen on is out-of-favour striker, Leonardo Ulloa.
This season, the Argentinean striker and centre-forward has only made seven appearances in all competitions for the Foxes. He has found the back of the net on two occasions, but has not scored in the Premier League.
With 18 goals and 7 assists in his time at the King Power, Ulloa does have a pretty decent record in the EPL. When it comes to a potential move to the B6, Ulloa has proven he can get it done in the Championship.
After being the top scorer for Almeria in Spain’s second division in the 2011/2012 campaign, the Argentinean moved to then Championship side Brighton.
In two seasons in the Championship with the south coast club, Ulloa scored 23 goals and had 7 assists in 50 appearances. On top of that solid clip, he helped Brighton reach the play-offs in each season.
As The Telegraph indicated, the forward signed a new contract that keeps him on the books at Leicester until June of 2019 and:
“Leicester would prefer Villa to agree a deal which becomes permanent in the summer…”
With James Rushton aptly pointing out that Aston Villa probably are not able to commit to much of a spend this window, Leicester’s reported preference could be a hindrance here.
Based on this article from HITC and what we’ve seen on social media, many Villans appear to be pleased with the notion of Leanardo Ulloa coming to Villa Park.
He certainly fits the bill in terms of Steve Bruce’s goal of strengthening Villa’s thinned attack. If the Leicester man does join on loan, hopefully he can replicate his past Championship form.
Lewis Grabban – Bournemouth (estimated market value: £3m)
Much like Leonardo Ulloa, we’ve discussed this one before. For better or worse, this rumour does not want to go away as the Birmingham Mail just reported that Grabban is the subject of a transfer tussle between Villa and Wolves.
The Cherries recently recalled Grabban from what was supposed to be a season-long loan to Championship side Sunderland. He had rather prolific half-season on Tyneside, scoring 12 in 19 appearances.
That output currently has him tied for the third most goals in the Championship. Grabban’s performance at Sunderland has led to an increase in his market value and Bournemouth clearly intend to cash in.
In the aforementioned story, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe all but made it clear that the 29-year-old striker is not in his plans:
“We have got some excellent strikers here. I have got some real options in that position, especially when you consider you have got the quality of Lys Mousset who is out of the squad at the moment.”
At his best, Lewis Grabban is probably only a Championship caliber striker. In fact, his career record in 125 league apperances just about confirms that. With six different clubs – Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Millwall, Norwich City, Reading, and Sunderland – he has tallied 50 goals whilst compiling 11 assists.
The striker has also been linked with Bristol City, Cardiff, Derby County, and Fulham. Could he play a part for the claret and blue? With seemingly no timetable on the return of Jonathan Kodjia, the answer is yes.
However, when it comes to the reaction to this possible transfer, it appears to be a bit of a mixed bag:
Wolves are doing it the right way whereas Villa are petrified of signing anyone who doesn’t speak English so we want to give Lewis Grabban £50k a week— Harvey Specter (@UGotLittUp) January 9, 2018
Stop the world, I wanna get off.
I'd rather keep either of them than sign Grabban, journey man not good enough for where we want to be imo. #avfc— Julian (@JB888) January 8, 2018
If he joins Aston Villa, hopefully Lewis Grabban can continue the form he had at Sunderland and prove the detractors wrong.
Chiedozie Ogbene – Limerick FC (estimated market value: N/A)
Much like Lewis Grabban and Leonardo Ulloa, this is another name that has been continually mentioned with a January move to Aston Villa.
The Irish Examiner said in late December:
“Villa’s interest is concrete and they are poised to table a bid to Limerick, who have the powerhouse under contract for another year.”
One might think that such a sentence gave the 20-year-old a generous description, but recent reporting suggests he is considered quite a prospect. The Limerick man can play nearly any position in attack.
This week the Birmingham Mail and HITC again linked the Irish attacker to a bid from Steve Bruce. Certainly with a move to English football, the Nigerian-born Ogbene would face far more formidable competition.
Even with that said, he looks set to cross the Irish Sea as he has been training at the facilities of various English clubs. Based on the reporting, if Aston Villa aim to secure his services, they will face competition from Brentford and Chelsea.
There have not been really any numbers associated with the potential cost of this transfer. Though Chiedozie Ogbene surely would not break the bank. He would also give the claret and blue another young player with plenty of potential.
As always, this is not a comprehensive list as there are rumours abound. One name that was not added – but might be worth tracking – is Liverpool’s Marko Grujic.
Also, when a club is facing the financial constraints that Aston Villa are dealing with, any transfer window is a very fluid situation.
A prime example of that relates to Peterborough’s Jack Marriott. The forward that scored twice in Posh’s 3-1 win last Saturday at Villa Park had previously been linked with a move to the B6.
However, just one week after he seemed a viable target, Peterborough reportedly rejected a £4million bid for Jack Marriott. Thus Aston Villa have now likely been priced out of a transfer.
It still appears certain that in the remaining days of January, the claret and blue will be active in the transfer market. It would not be a shock to see any of the names discussed above be a part of the “…one or two…” mentioned by both Steve Bruce and Dr. Tony Xia.