Aston Villa’s hopes of pulling off one of the January window’s most impressive coups appears to have taken a hit with the Daily Record reporting that Burnley have submitted a £13 million bid for Robbie Brady.
The Republic of Ireland international has long been on Villa’s radar, according to the Birmingham Mail, with reports linking Jordan Ayew with a move to China suggesting that the Championship club were ready to step up their pursuit of a player who could consider himself unfortunate to be playing second tier football this season.
Brady was undoubtedly Norwich’s stand-out performer as they suffered an immediate relegation from the Premier League last season, but it has taken another six months for rumours of top flight interest to intensify.
The Guardian reported that Crystal Palace were increasingly confident of sealing a deal for the player but Burnley’s huge offer means they have surely jumped to the front of the queue.
Sean Dyche's Clarets paid the price for failing to invest sufficiently in their squad in 2014/15 and appear to have learned their lesson this time around with Brady purporting to add extra quality to a squad far better than their previous Premier League side.
However, this will surely test the resolve of ambitious Aston Villa owner Tony Xia who, evidenced by the big-money signings of Jonathan Kodjia and Ross McCormack, is not afraid to dig deep for game-changing talents.
And Brady is exactly that; his pinpoint set-piece delivery could get the best out of a team lacking in creativity while his ability to play at left-back or in a midfield role would to give Villa boss Steve Bruce extra options at either end.
The Sun reported in December that Villa were mulling over a £10 million offer but it looks like they will have to add a few more pounds onto the fee or risk being blown out of the water.
After all, they are already competing against clubs who can offer Premier League football as a rather substantial sweetener.