Aston Villa and Everton keen on Dwight McNeil transfer
According to a report by Liverpool Echo (h/t The Independent), Aston Villa are the latest club to show interest in signing Burnley wide man, Dwight McNeil. The 21-year-old winger is already on the radar of Premier League side, Everton. He joined Burnley’s academy in 2014 from Manchester United and has done well for himself in the following years.
McNeil has impressed on the flanks for the Clarets and is now wanted by the Toffees and the Villans. He already has 96 first-division appearances for Sean Dyche’s side. But while he is an important player for Burnley, is he a signing that Aston Villa really need to make? Let us take a glance at the situation at Villa Park to understand more.
Villa don’t need Dwight McNeil
The Birmingham-based club already has a rich vein of attacking talent down their wings. The club boasts of a squad containing the likes of superstar Jack Grealish, Trezeguet, Bertrand Traore, and Anwar El Ghazi. To add to that, Dean Smith’s side made a big signing this summer when they beat Arsenal to sign Emiliano Buendia.
A report by Sky Sports mentions that Villa outbid the Gunners to sign the 24-year-old Argentine winger on a five-year deal for a fee that could rise to £38m. The former Norwich player wouldn’t have joined Smith’s side for that fee if he was to be a bench-warmer, and would undoubtedly warrant a place in the starting XI at some point this season.
Grealish is arguably one of the club’s best players and has the left-wing spot locked down in the team. Just last year, he signed a long-term contract that expires only in the summer of 2025. Thus, the club can be content with the options that they have on the flank. And neither of the aforementioned names are above 26 years old as of now.
Hence, future-proofing the wings is a task the club can take up in the upcoming years as there is no such urgency right now. Moreover, they also possess the versatile 26-year-old midfielder, John McGinn, who has played a significant number of games down the left flank for the Villains.
Villa should focus elsewhere
Considering all the factors mentioned above, where exactly does Dwight McNeil fit? It’s hard to carve out a place for the youngster in Villa’s team. Even for him, getting regular starts in a Premier League team such as Burnley should be an important thing. Out of a possible 76 appearances, McNeil has featured in 74 league games for the Clarets over the past two seasons.
Can such first-team football be guaranteed for him at Villa? That is something that remains to be seen and depends on how Villa approach this potential transfer deal. But with Villa’s quality in attack, it’s hard to think that McNeil would be able to develop in the same way at Villa Park as he would at Turf Moor.
- Chelsea slap £25.6m price tag on Kurt Zouma – Should Tuchel sell him?
- Arsenal target PSG star Thilo Kehrer– Should Arteta give the green light for the move?
- Crystal Palace in talks to sign Andre Ayew – Is Vieira making the right choice?
The Athletic (Subscription Required) mentions that McNeil only renewed his Burnley contract last year in October. With three years left on his current contract, it is unlikely that his current club would let a young English winger like him go for very cheap. In such an instance, it only makes sense for Villa to focus where strengthening is actually needed, such as in the centre-back department.