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John Lewis are making people weep, Slade are raking in the airplay royalties – it can mean only one thing. The January transfer window is just around the corner.
It’s six weeks today, in fact, until clubs can buy and sell again. There may be little value to be found mid-season, but, given Aston Villa’s perilous league position, Paul Lambert may be forced to go to the market to refresh his squad.
We have inevitably been linked with a number of players – here’s five of the more intriguing rumours…
Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur)
Surplus to requirements at Spurs, according to reports, Dembele is precisely the sort of player Villa desperately require – a dynamic midfielder who drives forward from deep. He’d have plenty of suitors, and it’d require some real ambition from the club’s hierarchy to even be in the mix for him. But we could perhaps tempt Spurs by offering wantaway Fabian Delph as a sweetener, and Dembele may be enticed by the prospect of having a team built around both him and his Belgium team-mate Christian Benteke.
Ivo Pinto (Dinamo Zagreb)
Neither Alan Hutton, in spite of his return to the fold, nor understudy Matt Lowton look convincing at right-back, and according to the Portuguese press, Villa have earmarked Pinto to solve that conundrum. The 24-year-old is valued at £4million and has been putting in impressive shifts in the Europa League, to the extent that he is now part of the Portugal squad – although he is yet to make his debut. Besiktas have declared an interest so Villa may face stiff competition.
Jonas Olsson (West Bromwich Albion)
With Ron Vlaar’s future still shrouded in doubt, experienced Swede Olsson emerged recently as a potential replacement. Having been dislodged as West Brom’s defensive lynchpin by Joleon Lescott, Olsson would surely relish a new challenge. Villa fans love a Scandinavian centre-half – could the 31-year-old find his way into their hearts in the way Olof Mellberg and Martin Laursen did?
Lewis MacLeod (Rangers)
A lot of Villa eyes would have been on the Scotland-England friendly on Tuesday – if only for a sighting of reported target MacLeod. The 20-year-old wasn’t brought on in the end but his consistent displays are not only helping return Rangers to Scotland’s top flight, but are attracting admiring glances south of the border. He fits the profile of young and hungry – but will he be able to cope with the demands of the Premier League?
Luke Williams (Hereford United)
Moves for the likes of Dembele and Pinto may be pure paper talk, but Villa scouts are certainly keeping a close eye on 19-year-old goalkeeper Williams, having watched him in Hereford’s FA Trophy game with Mangotsfield last weekend. His performances in the Southern League this season have wowed the Bulls’ management and fans alike. A trial ahead of a scholarship seems on the cards, following in the footsteps of teenage Maidstone United defender Ben Swift, who joined Villa this month. One to watch, perhaps.