As the season is reaching its final few weeks, the transfer rumour mill is in full swing. One of the latest players Aston Villa have been linked with is Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford, following his excellent season at Middlesbrough.
It's obvious that Villa will need a goalscorer this summer, as, despite scoring fourteen goals in nine league games since Tim Sherwood's arrival, Villa have scored only 26 goals all season, a dismal record. In addition, there is no telling whether or not Christian Benteke will remain an Aston Villa player, with Liverpool rumoured to be interested
The key question surrounding Bamford is his availability. Chelsea are no strangers to selling their young players, just look at Romelu Lukaku last season. The big difference, however, between Bamford and Lukaku is nationality. Bamford is English and would count as a homegrown player for Chelsea in domestic and European squad registration. This makes him a valuable long term commodity for Jose Mourinho's side.
This doesn't make Bamford a lost cause for Villa. After all, Chelsea are no strangers to loaning players out. If Bamford is to play a part in the Chelsea first team in future, Premier League experience will prove to be vital for him. With this in mind, they might be willing to allow him to spend a season at Villa, to develop under a manager with a solid reputation of working with young prospects in Tim Sherwood. However, if Middlesbrough get promoted, he may be more inclined to spend another season on loan there, as he would not have to readjust to life at a new club.
Of course, this rumour could just be taking advantage of Tim Sherwood's youth mentality, and there may well be no basis to it. I don't have a probability scale, but I'd say this is one to keep half an eye on, just in case.