By Wayne Veysey

27th Jul, 2021 | 3:14pm

Sources: Everton 'going strong' for McNeil as they try to blow Aston Villa out of the water

Everton have made Dwight McNeil their top target as they set their sights on beating Aston Villa to his signature, Football Insider has been told.

Dean Smith’s side have been keeping tabs on the Burnley winger, 21, since before the window opened as they look to strengthen their attack.

An Everton source has told Football Insider that they are “going strong” for McNeil and have registered their interest in a summer deal.

McNeil remains a key target for Smith after this site first revealed their interest in him on 29th April.

One advantage Villa have is that they have cash to spend, while Everton need to sell before they can buy.

That is not due to billionaire owner Farhad Moshiri pulling the plug on big-money transfers, but because the previously huge-spending Merseysiders need to meet financial fair play regulations.

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It means the race for McNeil is an intriguing one in the final five weeks of the summer window.

Villa are working on multiple potential attacking signings, with a £30million bid rejected last week for Leon Bailey and talks advancing over the capture of Todd Cantwell from Norwich City.

This comes amid huge doubt over the future of Man City top target Jack Grealish, while Roma have set their sets on prising Anwar El Ghazi from Villa Park.

McNeil has been targeted as a wide forward who is proven in the Premier League and has the capability to improve in a stronger team.

He has made 36 appearances for Burnley last season, scoring two goals and providing five assists, with all seven goal contributions coming in the Premier League.

He has a contract at Turf Moor that runs until the summer of 2024.

In other news, Aston Villa are in advanced talks to sign proven Premier League star available for £20million.