Respected source adds weight to claims of Aston Villa raid for England U21 star

Aston Villa still have Burnley winger Dwight McNeil high up on their list of transfer targets, according to a report.

Villa have started the summer transfer window strongly with the club-record addition of Emiliano Buendia. But they will not be finishing there and are eager to add to their ranks with further quality. A mid-table finish last season was a sign of progress and with a few more additions they could aim higher.

Despite Buendia’s arrival, attacking midfield is still an area they want to strengthen. Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal has become a major target, for example – even if his asking price is rising to astronomical levels.

A cheaper alternative may be McNeil, who has shown flashes of potential since making his Burnley debut in May 2018. Already one of their biggest attacking talents at the age of 21, the winger seems destined for a big move at some stage in his career.

It may come sooner rather than later if Villa firm up their interest. They have been linked with him for a couple of months and now the Telegraph have resurrected those claims.

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McNeil’s wages would fit within their structure and his skillset may give them extra creativity. He only scored twice last season, but has shown the potential to become more dangerous in that regard over time. His overall influence on Sean Dyche’s team has been majorly positive.

Burnley extended his contract until 2024 back in October and they can commit him to another year on top of that. However, they may have something to think about if a big offer comes in.

It is not yet clear how much Villa might be willing to spend, but they have made a statement of intent with their early market moves and could test Burnley’s resolve.

Smith Rowe pursuit ongoing

Emile Smith Rowe Arsenal tracksuit

Meanwhile, Villa continue to pursue Smith Rowe from Arsenal, even after having bids rejected.

One pundit with a connection to the club now thinks they will have to pay a crazy amount of money to get their man.

“I think the problem is Villa were clever and they got Emi Buendia in early before this [Jack] Grealish talk came along,” Gabriel Agbonlahor said.

“But now clubs are not silly, they’re smart to it. Even Arsenal, Smith Rowe is one of their brightest young players.

“The money Villa are offering, they’re never going to get him. Arsenal know they might get £100million for Grealish and will ask for something stupid for Smith Rowe.

“They probably want £50million, £60million, and that would be accepted if Villa offered it.

“They’re going to put money on top because they know Villa are going to get a bigger fee for Grealish.”

Grealish, meanwhile, has been heavily linked with Manchester City, as well as Chelsea and Manchester United.

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