By Alan Hutton

29th Jul, 2020 | 4:00pm

Hutton Exclusive: Leeds ace among trio Smith talked about signing for Aston Villa in 2019

Alan Hutton has revealed that Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips was one of a trio Dean Smith wanted to sign for Aston Villa last summer.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Villa defender stated that the manager also spoke about moves for Brentford winger Said Benrahma and Brighton centre-forward Neal Maupay.

Jesus Garcia Pitarch – also known as Suso – was brought in as sporting director at Villa Park back in 2018 and was put in charge of the club’s recruitment.

However, he left Villa the day after they secured survival in the Premier League.

Hutton believes that Smith should be given a more significant role in terms of the club’s recruitment and has lifted the lid on three players he wanted through the door last summer.

Hutton told Football Insider: “I think he should have a much bigger say, I think if you look at the people he actually wanted to bring in.

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“He mentioned the likes of Kalvin Phillips, Benrahma, he wanted to bring in Maupay as well – he was looking at a standard of player that have done really well this season and I think would improve Villa massively.

“I think whoever they bring in, I think it would be a good idea to work closely with Dean Smith, to me he’s got a good eye for a player.” 

Villa managed to survive relegation with a 1-1 draw against West Ham on the final day of the season.

They spent nearly £120million on new signings last summer, all but two of which were new faces to the squad.

In other Aston Villa news, Hutton has dropped a first-hand dressing room reveal after the club’s narrow escape.

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