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Report: Aston Villa scouts raving about seven-assist youngster

Aston Villa are planning to rival Burnley for Sunderland midfielder Dan Neil, with The Sun on Sunday (16/1; page 60) reporting that the club’s scouts have been raving about the 20-year-old.

Neil has been one of League One’s best players this term. He has provided seven assists so far, with only two players managing to contribute more in the third tier.

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It is remarkable to think that he is enjoying his first full season in the first-team at the Stadium of Light. But it would appear that there is a chance that he may be poached before the campaign concludes.


The Sun on Sunday (16/1; page 60) reports that Burnley want the Sunderland starlet. But Villa are also now in the running. And the Villans’ scouts have been raving about the youngster – who was born a few days after Paul Merson and Steve Stone scored in a dramatic 3-2 defeat away at Arsenal in 2001.

It is noted that Neil is represented by the same agency as Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard. So you would imagine that that could also help in any future negotiations.

Dan Neil may be in two minds about leaving Sunderland as Aston Villa join race

Gerrard has shown that he is prepared to put his faith in younger players. So having that pathway in front of him may also be a plus point for a player who has spent more than a decade on Sunderland’s books.

It may still be a challenge to convince Neil to move on this month. Sunderland are currently second in the League One table and have a fantastic opportunity to finally end their wait for a return to the Championship.

Having said that, it is an incredibly exciting time to join Aston Villa. The signings of Lucas Digne and Philippe Coutinho are huge statements of intent. And it would be no surprise to see Villa battling in the top-half of the table come the end of the campaign.

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