Noel Whelan has tipped Aston Villa to be the frontrunners in the race to sign Tammy Abraham from Chelsea this summer.
The former Leeds United striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the 23-year-old’s previous loan spell at Villa Park would sway things in Dean Smith’s favour.
As revealed by Football Insider on Friday, Leicester City and Wolves have joined the Villans in the hunt to sign the England international.
The striker’s contract at Stamford Bridge runs until 2023 but it is understood talks over a new deal have collapsed.
He has started just one Premier League game in January and there are doubts over his future under Thomas Tuchel.
Abraham spent the 2018/19 campaign on loan with Villa in the Championship.
As such, Whelan suggested the Villans would lead the hunt for his capture this summer.
Asked if Villa would be the favourites to sign Abraham, Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Yeah, I probably would say so, absolutely. The fact that you’ve been at a club before, you know the surroundings, the manager.
“It’d be an easier way to fit in and settle in at a club when you’ve been there before.
“Aston Villa, I would say, would be just pipping everybody else with the fact that he has had a long loan spell there and was very successful.
“I think because they’re getting younger players in and around that squad as well. Dean Smith would be a fantastic role model and manager to have.”
Abraham netted 26 times in 40 appearances for Villa during his temporary stint in the Midlands.
He has scored 12 goals in 31 games this season, although only six strikes have come in the league.
In total, he has scored 26 goals in 88 top-flight appearances.