Nick Powell showed initial promise but ultimately struggled at Manchester United
Four years of gradual decline proceeded Powell's 2012 switch to Old Trafford, which set the Red Devils back a reported £4 million (Daily Mail) and left them believing they'd found Paul Scholes' natural successor.
After nine games, one goal and three predominantly unsuccessful loan spells, the 22-year-old is currently without a club.
Hull, where Powell spent the back end of last season, could offer him a quick route back to the Premier League, while Championship sides Norwich, Leeds, Nottingham Forest and Wigan, another of his once-temporary employers, are also circling along with the Villans.
Powell playing for Hull last season
As a boyhood Villa fan, the latter option will naturally appeal to the former Crewe Alexandra starlet.
What better motivation than the prospect of leading his beloved club back to the promised land? Not to mention the guidance of Roberto Di Matteo, once one of the finest in Powell's position and who coaxed 18 goals out of another reported midfield target Graham Dorrans (HITC) at West Bromwich Albion, throughout 2009-10.
Norwich man Dorrans is another reported Villa target
Throw into the mix the presence of Ashley Westwood, Powell's central midfield anchor during the campaign in which he rose prominence at Crewe, and you've enough reason to take gamble - especially on a free transfer.
Powell played with Villa's Westwood (not pictured) at Crewe
It could be one of the steals of the summer.