How Aston Villa could line up next season if they sign transfer targets including Butland, Gomez and Benrahma

AS Aston Villa prepare for their return to the Premier League after three years, fans have every reason to be hopeful.

And with the club doing some good early business and targeting other big-money moves, they may even have reason to be expectant.

Just Jack Grealish and Jed Steer – who didn't make a single appearance – remain from the pitiful 2015/16 campaign, where Villa picked up just 17 points and dropped out of the Premier League for the first time.

Dean Smith's squad heading into the new season does have top-flight experience, though thankfully for Ahmed Elmohamady and Neil Taylor that came from elsewhere.

After a remarkable run at the end of last season, Aston Villa beat the odds to reach the play-offs, beat West Brom on penalties and then beat Frank Lampard's Derby to return to the Promised Land of English football.

It is therefore no surprise that Smith will want to keep a lot of the squad together and try and keep the momentum going when the new campaign gets underway.


Tyrone Mings played a crucial role in the promotion after joining on loan from Bournemouth and the club will make a bid to try and secure him on a permanent deal.

He can then rekindle his partnership with Kortney Hause, who looks set to stay at Villa Park after impressing on loan from Wolves last term before getting injured.

Villa used FIVE different goalkeepers last season with Orjan Nyland and Steer the usual men between the sticks – but Lovre Kalinic, Andre Moreira and Mark Bunn all featured, too.

Next season, though, Smith will be keen for stability in goal and is therefore lining up a £20million move to Jack Butland.

The England stopper is still with Stoke but is surely good enough to be playing in the Premier League again.

Frederic Guilbert signed for Villa in January but was allowed back on loan to Caen for the remainder of the season – he is now expected to come in at right-back.

On the other side, SunSport revealed that Southampton defender Matt Targett is a £10m… target.


In midfield, it is likely to be a case of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' as John McGinn, Conor Hourihane and captain Jack Grealish stick together.

New signing Jota – who was part of a swap with Gary Gardner – will also be challenging for a spot.

But after the success of the midfield last season, Smith may wait before introducing Jota into the starting XI.

Tammy Abraham top-scored for Villa last season but with Chelsea's transfer ban, the England striker is expected to be kept on at Stamford Bridge.

So Smith will need to sign a centre-forward – and has been linked with Celta Vigo's Maxi Gomez.

After scoring 13 goals in a side that narrowly avoided relegation last term, eyebrows will have been raised when the Spanish club slapped a £35m price tag on the striker.

While Mings and Hause are yet to sign permanently, one successful loanee Villa have secured the services of for next season is Anwar El Ghazi.

The winger enjoyed his spell from Lille and signed in an £8m deal on Monday.

Finally, Smith's side could be completed by Brentford right-winger Said Benrahma who is thought to be worth just shy of £9m.

Like Jota, he worked with Smith at Griffin Park and the gaffer is clearly keen to be reunited with the Algerian.

Other players who could sign for Villa before the transfer window closes on August 8 include Ghanaian right-back Daniel Opare and Blackburn star Bradley Dack.

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