By Phil Jennings
VILLA are reportedly ready to make their move for Brentford striker Neal Maupay.
The player has been in boss Dean Smith’s sights for some time – and knows him well from his time as Bees boss.
It was reported earlier this month that Villa will have to find £20million for the 22-year-0old Frenchman.
Now the Football Insider website says that Villa could go in with a £15million bid.
But they could try and tempt Brentford with a cash-plus-player deal. That may mean Jonathan Kodjia being part of the deal with the Villa striker tipped to be sold this summer.
Villa have already broken their transfer record to sign Wesley Moraes from Bruges for £22million.
But Smith still wants to strengthen his squad’s firepower and Maupay would be an obvious candidate.
Smith also wants Brentford wide man Said Benrahma and has been told it will take a bid of more than £20million to take him from the London club.
But Villa have serious money to spend and Smith knows he needs to fill gaps in his squad before the players return for pre-season. Owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris are determined to see Villa have a long stay in the Premier League and will do what they can to avoid the mistakes made by Fulham who spent £100million on players 12 months ago and were still relegated.
Burnley and Sheffield United are reported to also have an interest in Maupay, but the player will be a clear favourite to team up with former manager Smith once more.