Smith ready to play the long game

By Graham Hill

DEAN Smith is unlikely to be put off by his former club Brentford as he bids to sign Algerian wide man Said Benrahma.

Sky Sports have reported that Villa’s initial bid has been rejected by the Bees – and they will have to come back with a ‘huge offer’ to make the deal happen.

But it likely to player himself will want to leave the south-west London club if it means a passage to the Premier League.

The 23-year-old also has a clear link with Smith who actually signed him when he was Brentford manager.

There is still every chance that Villa will make the signing – but the Bees top brass will make sure they pay the maximum fee.

Benrahma will know he is a wanted man and unlikely to want to stay in the Championship if Villa come calling again.

Smith seems determined to reunite some of the players he had at Brentford – ex-Bees winger has joined Villa via Blues, and £20million-rated Brentford forward Neal Maupay is believed to be high on his list of targets.

The Villa boss is gradually getting the players he wants through the door with Anwar El Ghazi completing his move on Monday.

Tyrone Mings and Kortney Hause also want to turn their loan deals into permanent moves, while Smith wants Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge – although as suggestion has been made that Villa will look abroad if that move cannot happen.

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