Aston Villa's attempts to strengthen their squad are being foiled.
Villa have already enjoyed a strong start to the window by securing Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi permanently, as well as Jota and Wesley as new arrivals.
However, Smith is now being frustrated in the transfer market, particularly with his attempts to bring in a goalkeeper, with Cardiff and Stoke standing firm respectively on Etheridge and Butland.
Bournemouth are taking a similar stance on defender Mings, who played a key role for Smith in the second half of the season as Villa won promotion.
That's three top targets that Villa are struggling to sign, and they're all important ones to Smith, having identified them as key players to bring in.
Smith has already worked with Etheridge and Mings, at Walsall and Villa respectively, so knows just how important they would be if signed, whilst Butland offers a top goalkeeping option if the familiar Etheridge is unavailable.
For now, Villa can't sign any of them, and it may take some frustrating negotiations to get deals done, which feels even more frustrating after such a great start to the window.
Add in that Leeds are demanding £30million for Kalvin Phillips and the Daily Mail claim Nottingham Forest are pricing Villa out of a deal for boyhood fan Joe Lolley, and there appears to be some frustration at Villa Park at the asking prices for their targets.
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