Swansea striker Oli McBurnie is on Aston Villa’s radar as they look for a new goal-getter this Janaury.
The 21-year-old will be available on loan after seeing a temporary switch to Barnsley fall through in in the last window.
Boss Steve Bruce has confirmed that he will look at forwards who are not getting game time in the Premier League.
And McBurnie will be one of those, with one national newspaper claiming that a deal is close to being agreed.
Villa need a new striker after losing Jonathan Kodjia and Scott Hogan to injury.
And the Scot, who has made seven appearances as a substitute, and has played in the top-flight, League One, League Two and the Conference. fits the bill.
Before his move to Barnsley fell through, McBurnie said:
“A lot of people in my situation might have sat back and thought ‘I’ll just stay and get five or 10 minutes in the Premier League’ and it’s the safe option.
“I want to test myself at a good standard and playing 90 minutes is the best way to do that.”
So why did the loan move fall through?
It was a week after the transfer window closed when he found our that his move had collapsed.
A season-long loan had been agreed and McBurnie’s move was publicly confirmed.
But, a missing signature on one of the documents was spotted by the EFL, who chose to reject Barnsley’s appeal to allow the move to go through.
McBurnie had been itching for the chance to play regular first-team football having starred for the Swans Under-23s last season while making a handful of Premier League appearances.
But he had no inkling anything was amiss when he trained with Paul Heckingbottom’s squad after returning from international duty with Scotland Under-21s, only to be given a rude shock.
“It came out of the blue,” he said.
“I had actually gone up to Barnsley the Monday before the window closed to sign the paperwork and then I went to join up with Scotland.
“On the Thursday I knew the deals for Wilfried Bony and Fernando Llorente were part of the picture for my deal, so I was nervously waiting in my hotel room to find out if it had gone through and I was really looking forward to the chance to challenge myself in the Championship once I was told it was sorted.
“I joined up after getting back from Scotland and I went out and trained with the rest of the lads there and was looking forward to settling in.
“Then, that evening, the phone rang and it was the manager (Heckingbottom) ringing to tell me he was really sorry but they had seen an appeal rejected, the move had been cancelled and I needed to go back to Swansea.
“I didn’t really know what to say, I was a bit stunned to be honest because I did not know there was any problem until I had the phone call. It was out the blue.”
How has he done since?
He’s done well for the U23s and continues to impress in the development set-up.
But he’s ready for mens football again after previous loan spells at Bradford, Chester, Newport County and Bristol Rovers.
Swans boss Paul Clement rates him as he’s featured in four of the last seven Premier League games from the substitutes bench.
McBurnie also started in the 2-0 home defeat to Manchester United in the Carabao Cup.
Other transfer news
Aston Villa are keeping tabs on German forward Dominick Drexler.
The 27-year-old forward has scored ten goals for Bundesliga 2 leaders Holstein Kiel already this season and has attracted plenty of interest from England.
Newcastle United and Cardiff are also thought to be interested but reports in his homeland suggest Villa are a step ahead.
Kicker say scouts from the mentioned clubs have watched Drexler in action.
But the Birmingham Mail understands that Villa will only be looking at loan moves in January or cut-price deals so Drexler might be out of reach given that he’s in good form and contracted at his current club until 2019.
He was recently quoted as saying that a step up to the Bundesliga would be his dream.
“I would be lying if I did not say that,” he said.
“It is probably the dream of every footballer, and I’m now also old enough to appreciate how crazy it would be to play in the Bundesliga.
“Of course I listen to everything. But at the moment I can well imagine staying here for a very long time.”
Drexler has performed well this year and could well be on the move in January.
Whether he will arrive at Villa is another matter.
Boss Steve Bruce is looking for a new No.9 and has been very specific with his demands.
He wants a strong hitman who can hold the ball up in the same way as Keinan Davis does but Drexler isn’t that type of player.
Still, his record this season stacks up well, having scored eight and set up five more in the league.
Gabby close to a return
Gabby Agbonlahor returned to training this week after three months on the sidelines with a calf injury.
The Aston Villa striker will be available to Steve Bruce over the busy festive period as the manager looks to lighten the load on youngster Keinan Davies.
Agbonlahor, 31, hasn’t played since the 0-0 draw against Brentford in September.
He could return to lead the line in the coming weeks, but what does his long-term future hold?
The claret and blue academy graduate and fan is out of contract in the summer.
There has been talk in the past about Agbonlahor going to play Major League Soccer if a new deal at Villa is not forthcoming.
What is the message from Villa fans? Here’s a flavour of the opinion from our Facebook page.
Should Aston Villa give Gabby Agbonlahor a new contract?
3000+ VOTES SO FAR
Dean Woodhams: Pay as you play deal, I don’t have an issue with. He is hardly going to be inundated with offers so if he ever gets fit he may be OK off the bench.
Barry Fitzachary: Loyalty works both ways, he’s never been a world beater but always been a Villain, has 2 years left tops (possibly) let him see it out. Good lad for young lads to bounce off, he helps them integrate, more than just a player, sometimes folks don’t see it.
Before people go on about his last bad season in Premier League, while yes he is a professional and blah blah blah…Villa is his club and he was hurting just like rest of us!
John Heath: The older he has become, the more injuries he has suffered, and we can’t keep affording to pay someone who spends more time in the treatment room than on the pitch.
James Hill: Deserves the chance to overcome his current injury and work with the team this season. If he can break into the match day squad and make an impact then keep him. If he doesn’t make a first team appearance this season then we gotta let him go. Be a sad day though. He’s a club legend.
Dean Stanbury: I’m not one if the haters, I was a big fan, disappointed when he turned up out of shape in our relegation season, but happy to give him a 2nd chance.
However he simply hasn’t done enough in the past 2-3 years to deserve a new deal.
Stephen Fisher: I was always a Gabby can, but, I have to admit it is time to release him to pastures new. He no longer brings any quality to the team and we cannot justify retaining his services due to lack of availability.
Matthew Williams: Wonderful in his day, but I think he could have done with moving on a while ago.
Peter McPherson: He’s been a good servant for Villa and I’ve been a fan.
Richard Whitefield: Though I’m not a hater of Gabby’s, his effective days in a Villa shirt are way behind him. No point in a new contract when we could use that money to pay a player who will be pushing for a starting eleven place. Gabby has never really offered that many goals and with his hamstring and calf injuries, doesn’t offer that much pace anymore.
Stephen Audley: Villa through and through – another one driven out by the boo boys!
Jason Maher: Shouldn’t even be up for debate.. out of contract, out the club.
Harry Finch: Provided me with some of my best villa memories but time to go. All the best.
Keith Hardy: He will leave and start banging them in. You just see.
Matthew Hemus: Thanks for the memories but time to go.
Michael Salt: He will get his last chance as we are so short of strikers.
Nikolay Siderov: Gabby is Villa’s face. Villa will not be the same without Gabby.