According to a report from Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Aston Villa are about to be in talks to sign one or both of Mattia Destro and Adem Ljajic. The news comes as Roma's director of football Walter Sabatini is flying to England to do some business. With news today that Liverpool have triggered Christian Benteke's release clause, Aston Villa are absolutely on the market for at least another striker (a role that could be filled by Destro) and heavens knows another winger like Ljajic couldn't hurt either.
Destro is a promising 24-year-old who has been at Roma since 2012. In fifty-seven matches with the Serie A club, he's scored twenty-four times. He spent this spring on loan at Milan, and didn't shine there, but given his playing style that shouldn't be too much of a worry. He's not a great finisher, but good off-the-ball movement and speed can make him an absolute threat, and if paired with a natural scorer like Libor Kozak, he could be lethal.
There's a lot of potential with Destro, but he's a raw player. Wages could be a bit of an issue, but if he were to make the move it's hard to imagine him being the top earner at Villa, so it's probably not a deal breaker. He signed with Roma for approximately €16 million, and the club would likely be looking to recover that cost or make a bit of a profit, so something in the £11-15 million range seems reasonable.
Ljajic, the 23-year-old Serbian winger, is the more polished of the two players. While he's likely got a bit less potential overall, we know what wed be getting with him. And that's a player who scored eight goals and added two assists in twenty-three Serie A appearances with Roma this year. He'd also likely be a bit less expensive than Destro, but not by much.
If this is what Villa are thinking of doing with their Christian Benteke money, it would be a pretty good bit of business. The club desperately needs to improve their attack and Destro and Ljajic could make an immediate impact. I'm not sure how much stock to put into this rumour, though, and I'm wary of getting my hopes up. That said, Di Marzio is a pretty trustworthy journalist, and the move does make both financial and footballing sense. Don't get too excited yet, but be on excitement alert.