By Alex McLeish

7th Jul, 2021 | 9:45pm

McLeish backs Aston Villa to pull off 'exciting' McNeil signing after 'approach' reveal

Alex McLeish has backed Aston Villa to pull off the “exciting” signing of Burnley winger Dwight McNeil.

The former Villa boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, revealed he made an “approach” to enquire about the 21-year-old’s eligibility during his time as Scotland manager.

As revealed by Football Insider on Tuesday (July 6th), Aston Villa are lining up a big-money offer for McNeil if they cannot sign Emile Smith-Rowe from Arsenal.

McNeil has three years left on his contract at Burnley, although the Clarets have the option to extend that by a further year.

McLeish admitted he is a big fan of the left-footed winger and suggested he is ready to make the step up from Turf Moor.

“McNeil was flagged up to me as well when I was in the Scotland job,” McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.

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“Possibly, there was a connection for him to play for Scotland. When I made further approaches about it, that wasn’t the case.

“But the reason I did it is that I think he is an exciting prospect. He’s been exciting.

Whenever I see him on the ball, I’m quite delighted to see McNeil, receiving the ball and seeing what he can do.

“I think that he can definitely catch the eye of other clubs and bigger clubs than Burnley. Again, it depends on the cost.

“You’re talking about the young Arsenal guy and Villa putting three or four bids in for him. Dwight is definitely capable of going to a bigger club.”

McNeil joined Burnley as a youngster after leaving Manchester United’s academy in 2014.

He has played 107 times for the Clarets and 10 times for England’s under-21s.

In other news, Aston Villa are in pole position to sign 23-year-old after talks held.