Italian outlet CalcioMercato claim Aston Villa have joined Rangers in the race to sign Maritimo midfielder Josip Vukovic this summer.
Vukovic, 26, has caught the attention of scouts from all over Europe with some impressive displays in the top tier of Portuguese football this season. He has played 22 times this season, since joining Maritimo last summer.
A holding midfielder, Vukovic is renowned for his intricate array of passing. He is also more than willing to put his body where it hurts, and boasts an intelligence that allows him to read the game and break up opponents’ play.
Vukovic told Vitez last month that he has a release clause worth £3.4million. It is a fee that both Villa and Rangers are able to spend, but they may find it difficult to land the Croatia youth international with Lazio also keen.
It is hardly surprising that Villa are looking to land a holding midfielder. Veteran duo Glenn Whelan and Mile Jedinak are in the final few months of their contracts at Villa Park.
Indeed, Dean Smith is likely to be after a replacement and he has already shown that he is more than willing to bring in foreign talent. Lovre Kalinic joined Villa in the January transfer window.
Vukovic is yet to be tested at Premier League level but he would certainly be more than adept in the Championship. The move could depend on whether Villa gain promotion to the Premier League.