The Serie A club are reportedly keen to offload the 23-year-old Serbian attacker.
Aston Villa could be set to make one more big splash in the summer transfer market, according to Italian football insider Gianluca Di Marzio, who claims that the club have held talks with Roma over a deal for Serbian forward Adem Ljajic.
Ljajic, 23, first joined Roma from Serie A rivals Fiorentina in August 2013 for around €11 million [£8.09 million], having established himself as one of the Italian top-flight’s most exciting prospects during his three-and-a-half seasons with La Viola.
Signed as a replacement for Tottenham Hotspur-bound Erik Lamela, the former Partizan product has since racked up 15 goals and eight assists in 73 total appearances for Rudi Garcia’s men, while operating in a No. 10 role, on either flank or even up top.
However, with the club bolstering their attack with the signings of Mohamed Salah and Edin Dzeko this month, the Serbia international has now fallen down the pecking order at the Stadio Olimpico and failed to make it off the bench in their league opener against Hellas Verona at the weekend.
Now deemed expendable, he looks set to head elsewhere in the coming weeks and, with Villa manager Tim Sherwood open to further strengthening his revamped squad before the summer transfer window closes, the West Midlands could well be his next destination.
Di Marzio’s report claims that Roma director of football Walter Sabatini has travelled to England in an attempt to seek out potential suitors for the 12-times capped attacker and, so far, the claret and blues are at the front of the queue.
This would not in fact be the first time that Villa have been linked with Ljajic’s signature this summer, as Italian news outlet TMW reported just last month that Sherwood was preparing to use a portion of the funds from Christian Benteke's sale to Liverpool on him.
The versatile forward also came close to moving to the Premier League in 2009 when he had an agreement in place to join former Partizan teammate Zoran Tosic at Manchester United, but the Red Devils later backed out of the deal due to alleged work permit problems.
With his Roma contract running until 2017, it remains to be seen how much Villa would have to fork out for Ljajic’s services but Sherwood did acknowledge before the weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace that the club would likely need to sell some fringe players in order to raise funds for any further signings.
“If there’s any money and we can add anything that will make us better then we’ll be interested,” he told his pre-match press conference. “I think first we’ll maybe need to generate some money but we’ve done well so far.
“The chairman’s backed us and given us an opportunity to build a squad for the future.”
Whether Villa could work out a mooted deal with Roma then is up for debate but, regardless, there should be little doubt that Ljajic would be another fine summer acquisition to add to the likes of Adama Traore and Jordan Amavi.
Of course, Sherwood does already have a couple of emerging playmakers at his disposal in fan favourites Jack Grealish and Carles Gil but, if the chance is there to add another creative spark of his pedigree – and at the right price, then the ex-Spurs head coach would be foolish to not at least consider it.