Aston Villa have been linked with semi-professional footballer Macauley Southam-Hales from Barry Town United.
Words by Regan Foy (@FindFoy)
According to a host of journalists, and Y Clwb Pêl-Droed – an award winning website focusing on the Welsh Footballing Leagues – Aston Villa are one of three Championship clubs after the signature of Barry Town United’s Macauley Southam-Hales.
It would be a welcome move for the 22-year-old, who dropped down to semi-professional football in 2017 when he was released by Cardiff City.
Southam-Hales, who initially played as a midfielder, has been retrained as a right-back more recently and has impressed for The Linnets this season across 20 appearances – and chipped in with a goal and a number of assists along the way.
A former winner of Barry Town United’s Manager’s Young Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year awards, Macauley Southam-Hales has reportedly had interest from Welsh giants The New Saints – but is likely to pick the Championship as his destination should the opportunity arise.
Whilst the other clubs that are interested, Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers, don’t offer the pull that a club the size of Aston Villa will – it may be a matter of game time that causes Southam-Hales to pick a certain club should a bid be tabled.
Aston Villa currently have James Bree, Alan Hutton and Ahmed Elmohamady available to play in the right-back position – but with Hutton out of contract at the end of the season and Elmohamady looking shaky as a defender in recent appearances, this move could be Dean Smith working early to secure a cover option for James Bree who looks like he could be taking the mantle of the first choice right-back.
That, or he’s hoping that Macauley Southam-Hales could retrain positions again and play at left-back.
Whilst he’s a relative unknown to the vast majority of Aston Villa fans, sometimes gems can be found in the outer-reaches of the British footballing system – such as Everton’s Seamus Coleman who was purchased for a measly (in footballing terms) £63,000.
As well as this, we currently have one of the best right-backs in the La Liga from the last decade scouting for us – if he’s been sent to watch Southam-Hales and has been impressed, then it’s surely a smart transfer.
The link is indicative of Aston Villa’s tightish budgetary restrictions, and should the 22-year-old sign, it’ll potentially be a savvy move for Dean Smith’s side.