Aston Villa supporters have been making a lot of noise in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their side pick up a third successive Championship victory courtesy of a 4-0 success at Ipswich Town on Saturday.
Steve Bruce’s men went into their meeting with the Suffolk-based side off the back of narrow successes over Cardiff City and Leeds United, results which moved them within six points of the automatic promotion places prior to kick-off. And the Villans are now just four points behind second place Cardiff as a brace from Lewis Grabban alongside strikes from Conor Hourihane and Henri Lansbury sealed a routine win at Portman Road, thus keeping Villa very much in the promotion picture with just a few games of the campaign remaining.
Subsequently, there have been many thrilled Villans supporters in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are sincerely hoping that their side can win their final two matches of the season, which could be enough to clinch an automatic promotion spot.
In the meantime though, there has been much for our resident Villa fans to get their teeth into, not least recent reports suggesting that Sofiane Boufal has been told to train on his own by Southampton manager Mark Hughes.
And with the Morocco international’s future thus in huge doubt following these recent reports, Bruce’s Villa must seek to land the £13.5 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) this summer.
Ultimately, it hasn’t quite worked for the 24-year-old since his big money move to St Mary’s back in 2016, with just four goals and three assists in 59 appearances to show for his endeavours on the South Coast.
And while he has been used more frequently this term by both Hughes and former boss Mauricio Pellegrino, he has been unable to inspire a poor Southampton team away from danger, and thus fail to replicate the form that earned him a £16 million move to the club two years ago.
However, while his return hasn’t been anywhere near good enough, there is little doubt that Boufal has bags of talent and potential just waiting to be fulfilled.
The goal he scored in their narrow 1-0 success over West Brom back in October was absolutely brilliant, with Boufal dribbling past several Baggies defenders before composing himself to slot past Ben Foster – while those moments have been few and far between, they are very much in his locker.
And in a Villa side which could well be playing Premier League football next season, the Moroccan star could be a huge asset to manager Bruce.
There are question marks over whether Robert Snodgrass will complete a permanent move from West Ham during the summer following his successful loan spell this term, and even if he does make the move to Villa Park, the Villans will need flair and creativity throughout their attacking ranks to stay up next season – Boufal would provide that.
And with reports suggesting that he has fallen out with Hughes, and thus his Southampton future is far from certain, Villa must seek to take advantage by luring the 24-year-old to Villa Park this summer.
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