COMMENT By Will Butcher
If Steve Bruce is to gain his fifth career promotion with Aston Villa he must address his side’s problem area out wide.
The Midlands outfit have just one recognised winger among their ranks in Albert Adomah, with Jack Grealish, Leandro Bacuna and Gabriel Agbonlahor all better suited to other positions.
With promotion via the play-offs unlikely this season, Bruce should seriously consider signing one of these three wingers on loan during the summer ahead of a 2017-18 promotion challenge.
The Scotland international moved to Bundesliga title challengers RB Leipzig in the summer from Nottingham Forest, after the 19-year-old starred in England’s second tier with an array of goals and assist from out wide. Costing a huge £13million, Burke has struggled to nail down a first-team slot with Leipzig, making just two Bundesliga starts for the ambitious German outfit. The Daily Record claimed in January that Middlesbrough and Sunderland were keen on taking Burke on loan, and Villa should look to pursue a temporary deal for a player that is a proven threat in the Championship.
Another young winger with Championship experience, Roberts moved to Manchester City from Fulham before joining Celtic on an 18-month loan. His form in Glasgow has shown both maturity and precision far beyond his current age of 20, scoring 11 goals and providing a further 13 in assists in 49 league and cup encounters. Known for his twinkle toes from out wide, the England Under-20’s international would add creativity, goals and flair to Villa’s robotic side.
The Sun have claimed Championship rivals Leeds are in contact with the Liverpool attacker, who has continued to shine from out wide in a Barnsley side that have defied pre-season expectations to sit in 11th place. Although not particularly prolific this season, with just two goals for the Tykes, the 20-year-old’s work rate and desire to take a full-back on could be the added extra dimension needed to boost Villa’s promotion push during the 2017-18 campaign. With Liverpool reportedly willing to enter talks with clubs over Kent, Villa must join the chase to sign the fleet-footed attacker.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, Bruce has urged the club to do this in the transfer market.