Could Aston Villa lose out to Birmingham City in Jack Marriott chase?

Steve Bruce manager of Aston Villa shows his frustration during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Aston Villa at iPro Stadium on December 16, 2017 in Derby, England.

Bitter Midland rivals Aston Villa and Birmingham City are two of the clubs who have shown an interest in Peterborough United's prolific Jack Marriott?

Jack Marriott of Peterborough United celebrates scoring his team's third goal during The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Peterborough United at Villa Park on...

Aston Villa are 18 places and 19 points better off than their arch Midland rivals Birmingham City as it stands. But that may not help Steve Bruce in his attempt to lure Peterborough United’s Jack Marriott to Villa Park before the month is out.

As reported by The Daily Mail, Marriott is understandably on Villa’s radar after a remarkable debut season with The Posh. He took his tally to 23 for the season in all competitions after his clinically taken double inspired Peterborough’s shock 3-1 FA Cup third round win at Villa Park on Saturday.

But with the Peterborough Telegraph reporting that the League One side have now rejected a £4 million bid for Marriott, it appears that the chances of him signing for Aston Villa this month are all but over.

Birkir Bjarnason of Aston Villa evades Jack Marriott of Peterborough United during the The Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Aston Villa and Peterborough United at Villa Park on...

Financial Fair Play restrictions mean Bruce has been forced to target bargain deals and short-term loans this month. There is no way Villa could afford to pay more than £4 million for the 23-year-old Marriott.

But the same cannot be said about Birmingham. It is understood that Steve Cotterill’s relegation threatened Blues have been watching Marriott for some time and they are clearly not afraid to splash the cash.

Jack Marriott of Peterborough United looks to the ball watched by Aaron Pierre of Northampton Town during the Checkatrade Trophy match between Peterborough United and Northampton Town at...

Birmingham paid big sums for the likes of Jota, Marc Roberts and Maxime Colin during the summer window and will likely spend again this month in an attempt to claw their way out of the bottom three.

It has not yet been confirmed which Championship club launched the bid for Marriott, but the prospect of Aston Villa missing out to Birmingham will only exacerbate the frustration in another quiet transfer window.

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