Could Aston Villa use Steve Clarke’s connections to lure these three players?

Reading manager Steve Clarke

The Villans' assistant appears to be having an influence on manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Reading's Aaron TshibolaReading's Aaron Tshibola

If Aston Villa sign Reading's Aaron Tshibola this summer, there'll be little doubt as to who's behind it.

Steve Clarke managed the imposing midfielder for nearly a year in Berkshire, and though the Villans assistant wasn't the one who handed him his debut, it was was he who made him a first team regular at the start of last term.

With manager Roberto Di Matteo only now returning to the Championship after six years away, it's understandable that he would turn to Clarke when considering new additions.

Could the three of these be next?

3) Michael Hector

Michael Hector of Reading

Another of Clarke's old Reading charges, Hector is heading for Chelsea this summer after a £4 million deal was struck 10 months ago. With Antonio Conte soon to arrive as boss, an immediate venture into first team football seems unlikely for the 23-year-old with no prior Premier League experience. Both Di Matteo and Clarke have strong links to Stamford Bridge, making Villa Park a favourable destination should Hector be deemed surplus to requirements.

2) Kemar Roofe

Oxford's Kemar Roofe celebrates after scoring their first goal

Though Roofe failed to make an appearance for Clarke's West Bromwich Albion side, the Scot will be very aware of his progress since. His 18 league goals fired Oxford United to promotion last season, which has led to higher division interest and a £3 million price tag on his head. If Villa are willing to spend £5 million on a midfielder with only 13 Championship appearances (Tshibola), then signing Roofe would be nothing. The 23-year-old would be the ideal foil for a target man like Rudy Gestede.

1) Hal Robson-Kanu

Wales' Hal Robson-Kanu scores their second goal

In and out under Clarke at Reading, the winger's his Euro 2016 displays might have convinced the Scot to give him another chance. His free agent status makes him a low-risk signing - as long as the Villans can persuade him to ignore apparent Premier League interest. With Charles N'Zogbia and Kieran Richardson released and Scott Sinclair reportedly wanted north of the border, there could be a Villa Park vacancy for Robson-Kanu.

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