With the season almost over and the transfer rumour mill in full swing, Aston Villa have been linked with another winger from the Championship, Nottingham Forest's Michail Antonio.
The rumours linking Wolves' Bakary Sako to Villa have been put on ice after it was reported that the 27 year old winger is demanding £50,000 a week in wages. Instead, we are now seeing rumours linking the club with another winger who has impressed in the Championship this season in Michail Antonio.
Stylistically, there seems to be some similarities between Antonio and Sako. Both are pacy wingers who have an end product that Villa's current play-makers seem to be lacking (looking at you Charles N'Zogbia). Antonio in particular impressed for Forest this season, scoring 15 goals and earning himself 12 assists. This could be crucial if he were to sign for Villa, as not only is he capable of finishing a chance but he would also provide service to our other prolific players such as Christian Benteke and the emerging goal threat that is Tom Cleverley!*
*Providing Tom Cleverley signs a full time deal in the summer.
As for where Antonio might fit in to an Aston Villa squad, it certainly raises questions regarding the future of some of the current squad. Charles N'Zogbia is probably on a high wage, and it looked for all the money as if he would be on his way out this summer. However, he has had something of a resurgence under Tim Sherwood and I can see him sticking around. Scott Sinclair may or may not sign for Villa once his contract with Manchester City expires, but it looks like Sherwood wants to keep the Manchester City loanee around. All of this points to trouble for Carles Gil. Offensively, Gil is probably of an equal standard, if not better than Michail Antonio. But with his future in doubt, it wouldn't be unrealistic to view Antonio as a potential replacement for the Spaniard.
It all sounds good right, but unlike Sako, Antonio's contract has another two years to run, and given that he was voted Forest's Player of the Season, it is unlikely that they would want to sell. This would suggest that Villa would need to offer significantly more than the £1.5 million that Forest spent to sign him last summer.
To sum up, Michail Antonio would be a solid addition to an Aston Villa side. However, Forest's asking price could be too much to pay for a player with no Premier League experience. Watch this space, but not too closely.