Aston Villa have set their sights on signing West Brom rising star Fenton Heard this summer, Football Insider can exclusively reveal.
The 16-year-old playmaker is regarded as a big talent capable of playing first team football in the future.
A Villa source has told Football Insider the club are keen on enticing Heard from their Midlands rivals as they continue to strengthen their youth set-up.
Heard is an attacking midfielder said to have great ability, and who is most comfortable operating in a number 10 role.
Villa have enticed many young stars to make the move from West Brom in recent times.
The most high profile of those who started off at the Hawthorns is Louie Barry, although he arrived at Villa Park via the unconventional route of Barcelona following a year overseas.
Villa have put a big emphasis on youth development since owners Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris took over in 2018.
The club have handed long-term contracts to many of their best teenagers, including brothers Jacob and Aaron Ramsey.
Jacob, 19, signed a new four-year contract in February and Aaron, 18, penned his first professional deal last month.
The club have some other highly rated young players in their set-up including Carney Chukwuemeka, Jaden Philogene-Bidace and Kaine Kesler.
Midfielder Jacob Ramsey is the most advanced in his development and has already made 18 appearances this season.
Those include 15 in the Premier League, with four of those coming in the starting XI.
In other news, Aston Villa are braced for “monster” 28-year-old bid.