Aston Villa have recently entered the race to sign highly-rated midfielder Josip Vukovic from Maritimo, according to Calciomercato.
The Primeira Liga midfielder is wanted by Aston Villa, Rangers and Lazio ahead of the summer transfer window.
Previously, talkSPORT linked Chelsea, Leicester City and Wolves with the impressive 26-year-old so Aston Villa face a battle to land him.
But the Croatian holding midfielder could be the ideal like-for-like replacement for Glenn Whelan at the end of the season.
Whelan operates in the defensive midfield role in Dean Smith’s three-man midfield which has delivered seven straight wins.
But with his contract expiring at the end of the season, the 35-year-old faces an uncertain future.
Aston Villa might be put off by Whelan’s age and that could cost him an extension but he would need to be replaced if he goes.
That is why Vukovic would be a shrewd purchase for Aston Villa. He could perform in the Whelan role for Aston Villa.
The ex-Croatia youth international has been a standout performer for Maritimo in the Portuguese top division and deserves a shot in England.
Aston Villa might need to win promotion to provide serious competition with Vukovic’s Premier League suitors.
But if Aston Villa are playing top-flight football next season, veteran Whelan out and Vukovic in would be a perfect trade.