Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield expects Aston Villa to target Burnley winger Dwight McNeil if they cannot persuade Arsenal to sell Emile Smith Rowe.
Villa boss Dean Smith has been keen to bolster his options after a promising second season back in the Premier League.
However, he has been frustrated in his attempts to sign attacking midfielder Smith Rowe, with Arsenal rejecting two big-money bids for the 20-year-old.
Would Dwight McNeil be a good signing for Aston Villa?
It has been reported that Villa will return with a third bid for the England under-21 international, although it is clear the Gunners do not want to sell as they are looking to tie Smith Rowe down to a new five-year deal.
As a result, McNeil has been identified as an alternative to Smith Rowe, much to the delight of the club’s fans.
Despite being just 21, the winger has already made 96 Premier League appearances, contributing seven goals and 16 assists.
Burnley will not want to lose their talisman, but Hatfield has tipped Smith to plot a move if Smith Rowe commits his future to Arsenal.
Speaking to The Transfer Tavern, Hatfield said: “The question, I suppose, is with Burnley. Would they be willing to sell him? They have got new owners in so are they looking to keep hold of players like that, or is there a price tag which both clubs can agree on?
“I think Villa are favouring Smith Rowe over him, judging by the interest we have seen there and the bids they have put in. But maybe he could be a back-up option if the Smith Rowe stuff doesn’t work out.”