Jeff Hendrick is available on a free transfer, and his agent has reportedly offered his services to Aston Villa.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
The word amongst Newcastle-covering journalists is that representatives of Jeff Hendrick, formerly of Burnley, have offered his services to both the Magpies and Aston Villa following the expiry of his contract this month.
Hendrick rejected a contract extension from Burnley in January amidst interest from Italian giants A.C Milan – which has seemingly cooled since – and now finds himself as a free agent.
The midfielder, who often operates as a right-midfielder but has amassed minutes for Burnley this season at right-wing back, central midfield and attacking midfield, is often seen as a ‘utility player’ – happy to be involved within the squad and fill in where necessary.
At right-mid this season, where Hendrick has picked up 1,351 minutes, the Irish international’s stand-out part of his play has been his link-up play and bringing his team-mates into the game. He has speed, but perhaps is not the level of “pace” that Dean Smith has admitted his side need moving forward.
The 28-year-old has scored 10 goals for Burnley in 139 appearances and is capped 54 times by the Republic of Ireland.
His passing, work-rate and teamwork are stand-out parts of the midfielders play, as well as his versatility in where he can be positioned on the pitch.
According to Burnley fans on social media, they describe Hendrick as a ‘bit of a workhorse’ that ‘chimes in with a goal every now and then’.
Hendrick is an experienced head and has looked happy to grow in his ‘utility’ role at Burnley, and a potential deal at Aston Villa could be a relatively low risk arrival that will help to improve the squad.
With Milan now assessing their transfer movements post-COVID, Hendrick could still find his move to the Serie A – but with Newcastle and Villa now alert to his availability, and willingness to join both clubs, the Irishman could find himself remaining in the Premier League for the foreseeable future.
According to the CIES Football Observatory Weekly Post, Hendrick is among the top 10 ‘best value’ free signings on the continent this summer – with a transfer window value of around £7,800,000 if he still had a year remaining on his Burnley contract. This puts him just under the likes of Edinson Cavani and Jan Vertonghen, both 33, who’s ‘value’ is evidently lower due to their age after leaving Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham respectively.