After signing Matty Cash, the rumours are that Aston Villa are in the market for a winger, with Diangana and Eliasson linked.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Aston Villa seems to be taking a much more calculated approach to the current transfer window with new Sporting Director Johan Lange at the helm. Villa supporters were getting mighty nervous about the speed in which the club are doing business, but it seems the levee may have been breached after Matty Cash joined today from Nottingham Forest.
Make no mistake about it, Villa are not going to sit on their hands much longer in this transfer window with the new season closing in. While frustrating for the common man football supporter, supporters of the famous Claret & Blue should be much happier with this methodical approach, rather than a scatter-gun approach they saw last year under Suso.
Gianluigi Longari, an Italian sporting journalist for Sportitalia & Tutto Mercato, tweeted about an interest between Aston Villa & young Bristol City winger Niclas Eliasson. The 24-year-old winger enjoyed a decent season for Bristol City in the most previous campaign, playing 2,367 minutes and making twelve assists across all competitions. Known for his above-average crossing ability, Eliasson completed 183 accurate crosses for a 45.4% crossing accuracy.
A further promising statistic, Eliasson made 150 accurate passes into the opponent’s penalty area in all competitions, something Villa manager Dean Smith would no doubt salivate over. Eliasson is currently having troubles putting his name on the line for a long-term contract with the Robbins, and this may be the most perfect time for Villa to pounce on a transfer. According to Bristol Post, Eliasson has been linked in the last two transfer windows to clubs such as Lazio & Villareal.
There was a severe and damning lack of service from the wide areas for Aston Villa last season when it comes to crossing in the final third. The fact remains that Eliasson would arrive from a club in the Championship who finished in 12th position last season, yet the Swedish born Eliasson ticks more than a few boxes under the current transfer philosophy talked about by Villa Chief Executive Officer Christian Purslow.
While Aston Villa is reportedly on the hunt for new wide players, they are not the only club in the Midlands doing so. West Brom have a severe interest in 22-year-old Grady Diangana, a predominantly left-sided attacking midfielder from West Ham United. Diangana was dispatched on loan last season at West Brom and most definitely did his part to help the Baggies gain promotion back into the Premier League with nine goals and six assists. While it seemed nailed on that Diangana would join West Brom permanently to the dismay of West Ham fans, it now seems that Aston Villa & Fulham are trying to lure the DR Congo native away.
According to Sky Sports, it was said Diangana is set to join West Brom for an 18 million pound fee, but interest from elsewhere may leave West Brom in the cold. The sale of Diangana is not sitting well with West Ham supporters in any facet, yet it seems the winger is out of the door sooner than later. John Percy recently reported that Diangana is set for a medical at West Brom tomorrow.
West Ham co-owner David Gold is doing himself no favours in keeping Diangana or pleasing the supporters of his club after recent public contradictions. In 2017, Gold infamously tweeted that he could not see younger players breaking through the ranks at West Ham: “I think we all have to except (sic) that it is extremely unlikely that a teenager will break into a PL team full of seasoned internationals. Playing teenagers doesn’t guarantee success. Hull came 5th (in the table of most young players) and got relegated. Chelsea came last and won the league.”
Diangana will be 23 years old by the time the upcoming season ends, but the lack of vision for utilizing younger players may be a sign that Diangana will depart West Ham for greener pastures before the current transfer window closes. If Aston Villa could swoop in and secure the services of Diangana, it would be a massive show that Johan Lange is serious about bolstering Villa’s attacking options & following the transfer model of bringing in younger and more promising players.