Premier League duo Aston Villa are reportedly battling Liverpool for Southampton left-back Matt Targett and Cardiff City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge.

Considering that Liverpool won the Champions League, accumulated 97 points in the Premier League while playing some of the most attractive football anywhere in Europe under the charismatic Jurgen Klopp, you have to ask why anyone would turn down a move to Anfield in the summer of 2019.

But Neil Etheridge and Matt Targett, who have been linked with moves to Merseyside by the Wales Online and 90Min, might be tempted to do just that.

After all, the Cardiff goalkeeper and Southampton left-back will be fully aware that they’d probably be warming the bench and playing EFL Cup clashes if they moved to Liverpool, rather than starting crucial Premier League and Champions League fixtures.

This, then, puts newly promoted Aston Villa in a rather unlikely position where they can beat the Champions of Europe to two summer signings.

Wales Online claimed recently that Etheridge would prefer a move to Villa Park over Anfield, given that he would expect to be the club’s number one.

The £10 million-rated 29-year-old shone in the Premier League with Cardiff in 2018/19 and he’d represent a major upgrade on Jed Steer, Orjan Nyland and £7 million January flop Lovre Kalinic.

Targett, meanwhile, is also a £10 million target for Aston Villa (The Sun). While Villa are lacking a top quality left-back, Liverpool arguably have Europe’s very best in Andy Robertson.

So Aston Villa’s strategy should be clear. Put simply, they must offer Etheridge and Targett guaranteed first-team football – something Liverpool cannot promise.

In other news, Report: President makes £18m Tottenham target available for transfer, Jorge Mendes key