After a slow start to their summer business saw Philippe Senderos and Joe Cole arrive on a pair of frees, and Kieran Richardson signed from Fulham for a nominal fee, Aston Villa’s transfer spending has kicked into life over the past week.
With ex-Liverpool loanee Aly Cissokho signed from Valencia for £2.5 million, shortly followed by the £4.7 million arrival of Colombian midfielder Carlos Sanchez from Elche, manager Paul Lambert appears to have cash to spend, and is now setting his sights on more additions before the close of the window.
According to reports, Argentine midfielder Sebastian Blanco is the latest Villa target and, as a relative unknown within the UK, here are five facts to shed some light on what he might bring to the table.
1) The 26-year-old playmaker made his first-team breakthrough with boyhood club Lanus in 2006, before proving a crucial part of the side’s first-ever top-flight title the following campaign, chalking up a total of 19 goals and 27 assists in 138 games during his five seasons in Argentina.
2) Blanco made his international debut in May 2009 under Diego Maradona, playing the final 30 minutes of a 3-1 friendly win against Panama, in an experimental squad made up of domestic-based names.
He would go on to score his first goal in a 4-0 win over Haiti 12 months later, in what his second and, so far, last appearance for the national side.
3) Eventually sealing a £5 million move to Ukrainian outfit Metalist in January 2011, Blanco has made close to 100 appearances for the club since, including 20 in the Europa League, scoring 14 times and adding 12 assists.
However, the midfielder initially refused to return to the country this summer, following the Malaysia MH17 crash, and, with the club also struggling with their finances, speculation surrounding his future has been rampant.
4) Blanco has already been linked to a host of clubs during pre-season, with Leicester City, Sunderland, Parma, Verona, Real Sociedad, PAOK and Club America all understood to be courting his signature before reports that Villa had entered the race.
5) Standing around 5ft 6, the diminutive Argentine is capable of filling a number of attacking positions in the lineup and also possesses a Spanish passport, with an initial asking price of £6 million said to have now dropped down to less than half that fee.