Aston Villa have endured a turbulent summer but have emerged fighting at the other end, battling to a strong start in the Championship.
Steve Bruce’s side are firmly established amongst the favourites to earn promotion to the Premier League this season but face a huge fight to do so, with the likes of Leeds United and Middlesbrough providing strong competition.
With just days to go in the loan market, Bruce is seeking further additions to his squad and we have identified three reported targets who would provide a huge boost to their promotion charge.
Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)
Starring for Bristol City in 2015/16, netting 23 goals, Tammy Abraham caught the eye again on loan with Swansea City last season despite their relegation from the Premier League – scoring eight goals and pushing his way into the England squad.
Steve Bruce wants to sign the 20-year-old to provide a huge boost to his striking options and Abraham would certainly enjoy more regular first-team opportunities at Villa Park than he would with Chelsea, where he faces a battle to prove himself to Maurizio Sarri.
However, The Daily Mirror has now stated that Abraham is ready to snub the advances of Steve Bruce’s side as he intends to fight Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud for first-team football at Stamford Bridge this season.
Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic)
Scoring three goals and contributing a further three assists in just five games this season, Nick Powell has established himself as a star in Wigan’s return to the second-tier but an exit could be on the cards this week due to the fact he has entered the final 12 months of his deal.
TeamTalk has named Villa amongst Championship rivals Stoke City, Leeds United and Middlesbrough as suitors for the 24-year-old former Manchester United man, although they claim Tony Pulis’s side are the favourites to secure a deal.
Wigan are said to be seeking around £5m for the midfielder and a deal would see him move on loan until January, where the switch would then be made permanent.
Shane Long (Southampton)
Earlier this month, The Express and Star reported Aston Villa’s interest in Long but an added complication has emerged as The Sun (print edition, 26/08, page 61) claims Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic have entered the charge.
With Tammy Abraham potentially off the cards, as he aims to prove himself to Chelsea, Shane Long could become the priority for Bruce in the final days of the window and his vast experience would provide a huge boost.
The 31-year-old wants regular first-team action this term and his leadership qualities could prove to be decisive in Villa’s hunt for a return to the Premier League.