By Harry Sykes

Aston Villa’s January pursuit of Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom has been brought to an end, according to a report.

The Mirror claim the Midlands giants have lost out to Championship rivals Brighton in their bid to sign the 21-year-old on loan.

It is said that England Under-21 international Akpom is “heading to Brighton” following an agreement with Arsenal and that the transfer is to be finalised on Monday.

This is a blow to Villa after the Mail reported that the young forward was one of two strikers manager Steve Bruce wanted before Tuesday’s transfer window cut-off.

Bruce is continuing a revamp that has already brought five confirmed signings this month by trying to land a new striker.

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The Midlands outfit have been strongly linked this month with a move for Middlesbrough striker Jordan Rhodes, but have been put off by the asking price.

Akpom represented a temporary deal and a far less expensive one, but it now appears that the young gun will be spearheading Brighton’s attempt at securing promotion to the Premier League.

Villa have lacked firepower this season, with their 27 Championship fixtures accruing a meagre 28 goals and Jonathan Kodjia their only regular supplier of goals.

Ross McCormack could be headed out of the exit door by Tuesday night, although his wages represent a considerable stumbling block to a deal.

Football Insider verdict

It is a blow to Villa to lose out on Akpom, and particularly to a Championship promotion rival. Bruce’s side may be a long way short of the play-off places but their January business demonstrates the club’s intent to push strongly for an instant return to the Premier League in the second half of the season. Goals have been their achilles heel, with Kodjia the only reliable provider of them. As a mobile spearhead with an eye for goal, Akpom would have provided strong competition for the Ivorian. 

In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club are set to face competition for the signature of this 22-year-old defender.

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