Report: Aston Villa set to win race for Wolves winger Bakary Sako

Wolves Stadium

The soon-to-be out-of-contract Mali international is reported to have decided on a summer move to Villa over Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Aston Villa have already lined up their first summer signing, according to both the Mirror and Daily Star, with Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Bakary Sako set to join on a free transfer.

Sako, 26, is out of contract at the end of the season and was linked with a £2 million move to Villa in the winter transfer window, per the Birmingham Mail, as well as to Queens Park Rangers and Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion.

A move failed to materialise at the time but talks with Wolves over an extension have continued to stall and Foot Mercato reported last week that Villa, West Brom, Turkish giants Beskitas and Russian side Dynamo Moscow have all made the Mali international pre-contract offers.

Responding to the speculation ahead of last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town, Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett told the Express & Star: “I’m sure that does happen and that’s why people have agents.

“I’m sure any agent will be assessing the possibilities. I’d be naive if I said otherwise.

“His contract is up at the end of the season and I would think he’ll have options and will be sought after.”

Jackett also refused to rule out keeping Sako at Molineux but, with the Championship club’s promotion hopes in the balance with two matches remaining, the French-born attacker is said to have decided on a move to the FA Cup finalists over the Baggies.

With Villa looking on course to retain their Premier League status, his recent form suggests the Wolves star could prove a valuable acquisition for manager Tim Sherwood's first full season in charge, having bagged 14 goals in 39 games this term, including seven in the past two months.

The former Saint-Etienne man’s production has helped keep the team in the play-off hunt during the run-in but the weekend’s result means three points still separate them from sixth-placed Ipswich ahead of their final two matches.

Whether Sako would end up proving a better option for Villa than the likes of the emerging Jack Grealish, Charles N’Zogbia, Scott Sinclair, Andreas Weimann and the little-used Carles Gil remains to be seen but, given the lack of a transfer fee and his goalscoring pedigree, it seems like a move more than worth making for Sherwood.

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