By Matt Farr
Aston Villa are set for another busy transfer window under Steve Bruce as the club eye reinforcements in as many as four positions, according to a report.
The Birmingham Mail claim that Bruce is targeting at least a new goalkeeper, a centre-half, and an attack-minded midfielder, with a potential swoop for a new striker also on the cards.
However, it is further reported that the Aston Villa chief is set to turn to the loan market to strengthen his outfield positions this summer, as he looks to build a squad capable of earning promotion to the Premier League.
During Aston Villa’s heavy-spending this season, the club made just one loan signing, that of goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who arrived from Manchester United for the second half of the campaign.
But Bruce is understood to be keen on acquiring more talent on a more short-term basis, with a return for Johnstone already under discussion.
Youngsters at several of the Premier League’s elite clubs – including United, Arsenal and Chelsea – are also reported to be under consideration.
Bruce has an impressive network of contacts within the top-flight, having regularly pushed for deals to snap up talent from the likes of Arsenal and their Premier League rivals.
He has regularly done business with Arsene Wenger, acquiring no fewer than five youngsters from the Gunners during his time as manager of Birmingham and Hull City.
Aston Villa are also understood to be looking to strengthen their U23 side, following the pending departures of promising quintet Jerell Sellars, Rory Hale, Tom Leggett, Joe Linley, and Niall Mason.
But a priority will also be determining the roles in the first team squad for the likes of Pierluigi Gollini, Ross McCormack and Jordan Veretout, who are among the crop set to return from their respective loan spells.
Football Insider verdict
Aston Villa have spent a considerable amount on new players over the course of the current season, but it failed to pay-off with an immediate return to the Premier League. However, instead of focusing on even more spending ahead of next season, Bruce’s reported decision to target loan deals, represents a more restrained approach from the club. Given the Premier League talent that could be available for a temporary switch this summer, that’s not a bad move to make. Impressive youngsters like Tammy Abraham and Emerson Hyndman, who have just completed loan spells away from the top-flight, could be once again made available, and could improve the first-team squad at Villa Park.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, the club are understood to be considering a move for this Liverpool player, after it was revealed he is set to leave the club.