By Graham Hill
GARY Cahill will be on Villa’s shopping list this summer after falling to land the Chelsea defender in January.
Former Villa centre half Cahill is out of contract at Stamford Bridge this summer and Dean Smith is ready to make a move.
Now that Villa’s place in the Premier League is confirmed, Smith will begin a rebuild he will have been planning for months.
If Villa can make Tyrone Mings’ loan move from Bournemouth a permanent one, Villa will want to match him with the experience of Cahill.
Smith has money to spend and, while Cahill would arrive on a free transfer, he would command big wages.
Villa now have the budget for that and Cahill is likely to end up at Villa Park.
Smith’s chances of bringing Axel Tuanzebe to Villa depend on Manchester United where boss Old Gunnar Solskjaer is planning a summer rebuild of his own.
Ironically, United’s struggles last season mean Tuanzebe is likely to be part of Solskjaer’s future plans.
But Smith knows he needs some know-how at the back and Cahill’s connections with Villa coach and former Chelsea coach John Terry will come into play.
Smith has also been strongly linked with a move for his former Brentford striker Neal Maupay, Liverpool winger Ryan Kent and £7million rated Luton Town defender James Justin.
But despite winning promotion, it will be a summer of change with Tammy Abraham heading back to Chelsea before deciding on his future.
Anwar El Ghazi is expected to turn his loan spell from Lille into a permanent move to Villa and Kortney Hause should be staying after leaving Wolves on loan.
As for the goalkeeper situation, £6million Lovre Kalinic has been edged out by Jed Steer whose stock has risen massively in the last three months. Kalinic may decide the move to Villa is not working out while Norway international Orjan Nyland could find himself out in the cold the he recovers from the Achilles injury that ended his season early and – as fate would have it – brought Steer back early from his loan spell at Charlton.
Cahill, 33, left Villa 11 years ago to move to Bolton before joining Chelsea three years later. But the former England defender has been surplus to requirements this season under boss Maurizio Sarri.