Aston Villa saw one of their reported winter targets head elsewhere before the transfer deadline, with RC Lens right-back Dimitri Cavare sealing a €3 million move to Stade Rennais on a deal until 2018.
Cavare, 19, had emerged as a regular starter for Lens this season, earning impressive reviews from his 18 Ligue 1 appearances, while also breaking into the France Under-20 setup.
Former Villa assistant manager Roy Keane first brought the promising defender to Paul Lambert’s attention, according to a report from Made in Lens, and the club continued to track his performances after the Irishman’s departure in November.
A move was thought to have been dependent on Matthew Lowton leaving the club in the transfer window but, with the backup right-back remaining at Villa Park, Cavare instead made the switch to the Bretagne outfit.
Loaned back to Lens for the remainder of the season, Rennais manager Philippe Montanier told the club’s official website: "He has a big potential. We’re taking him on for next season.
“He is a strong, modern full-back, who likes to find offensive spaces. We have seen that speed; it could compete with [current forward] Paul-Georges Ntep.
“Full-backs with these qualities are quite rare.”
It sounds like Villa might have missed out on an exciting prospect then, although, despite their disappointing season, the resurgent performances of Alan Hutton have been one of the few bright spots.
Nevertheless, it can never hurt to bring in emerging talent at a decent value, and one hopes the club don’t come to regret not ramping up their interest in Cavare during the closing stages of the window.