Steve Bruce has endured a tough few days at Aston Villa, as he has suffered a blow in the chase for two reported targets.
The Guardian states that Everton winger Yannick Bolasie is closing in on a move to join promotion rivals Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season, despite reports from The Birmingham Mail stating that he wants to remain in the Premier League.
Initial reports concerning the DR Congo international suggested a move was off and may have led the Villans to cool their interest, but the news that Tony Pulis’ side look set to hijack a potential move could cause real problems at Villa Park.
Unfortunately for Villa, it comes just days after another blow in the market after former loanee Robert Snodgrass started a game for West Ham for the first time in over a year – which seems to suggest Manuel Pellegrini has plans for him in the squad.
The 30-year-old Scotland international excelled on loan with Villa last season, scoring seven goals and contributing 14 assists, which The Birmingham Mail says led Bruce to inquire about a similar deal for the 2018-19 campaign.
West Ham’s captures of Andriy Yarmolenko, Lucas Perez and Felipe Anderson over the course of the summer seemed to suggest that Snodgrass would be surplus to requirements at the London Stadium but that appears not to be the case.
“With the first one, their player has run 40 yards and we had five defenders against one attacker. At any level that’s criminal.”
Alternatives will now need to be sourced in the transfer market and The Sun (August 19th, page 60) has stated that Liverpool youngster Sheyi Ojo has emerged as a target, though it is clear that the 21-year-old is a different sort of player to the two aforementioned candidates.
Ojo, largely untested at a senior level, would not provide the experience that Bolasie or Snodgrass could to a promotion push and that could be a problem. While there is no doubting Ojo would be a useful talent, perhaps Bruce should be looking at also bringing in a more experienced option as well.