(Steve Bruce’s Villa currently sit in 5th, and the ex-Hull boss feels he needs to add some reinforcements to his side)
It has been a rough fall for Aston Villa since their Champions League win in 1982, the club has been through some turbulent times including subsequent relegations the most recent of which in 2015/16; and Steve Bruce’s 5th placed Villa are set to also go against fellow Champions League Winners Nottingham Forest in a battle of the sleeping giants.
But Bruce feels he needs to add to his squad in order to retain their Play-off place position facing stiff competition from the likes of Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Fulham. With on-loan midfielder Robert Snodgrass pulling the strings for Aston Villa with 6 assists already this season reinforcements have been called in to aid the inform Scottish International, currently, their top scorer is Albert Adomah with 11 and while he really reshaped how Villa play there is a little backup should the 30-year old get injured.
Steve Bruce has targeted out of favour Leicester Striker Leonardo Ulloa to bolster his attacking options, at 6ft 1 the 31-year old Argentinean was a great asset to Claudio Ranieri’s title-winning 2015/16 side but has been put out into the Cold by Ranieri, Shakespeare and Puel playing only 19 minutes this season.
Ulloa offers something different to 5ft 11 Adomah, his height and sheer size allows for him to be an aerial menace and really cause issues. The big Argentinian is no stranger to the Championship either scoring 14 goals in the 2013/14 season with Brighton finishing 6th under Óscar García.
Yet despite not featuring heavily for Leicester and boss Puel confirming he has too many strikers at the club and is likely to offload at least one before the end of January Ulloa’s transfer all hinges upon fellow Foxes forward Islam Slimani, if the Algerian International seals his move to Turkish Giants Besiktas Ulloa’s proposed move to Villa would be blocked. Steve Bruce is very keen on the Leicester forward and would initially bring him in on a 6-month loan deal before deciding whether to make the deal permanent in the summer transfer window.
Aston Villa have not finished with their deals with Leicester with just Ulloa, the Midlands club have also set their eyes on fellow Leicester Outcast Daniel Amartey. The Ghanian bought by Ranieri in 2016 as a replacement for N’golo Kante has not hit the heights of his predecessor playing only 30 times across two years, while his work rate has been similar to the now Chelsea star Amartey cannot match Kante in terms of his tackles and interceptions.
(Leicester outcasts Ulloa and Amartey could find a new home in the Midlands under Steve Bruce)
Should Aston Villa get their way Amartey would also join Villa on a 6-month loan as the Club try as the club try to avoid financial difficulties, but prising Amartey away from Leicester maybe even harder than their pursuit of Ulloa as after injury to Danny Simpson Amartey is Leicester’s first choice right-back. The deal would only occur if Puel signs a suitable replacement for Simpson with Centre-back Alexsander Dragovic pushed out wide following Amartey’s red card against Manchester United.
Speaking about the potential transfers Bruce said “there’s nothing yet, but one or two things are bubbling,” and perhaps he was talking about the double swoop Bruce continued to state “It’s difficult to loan players right now, but two or three weeks changes things when players move around. We have to be patient, but there are one or two bubbling along.”
It is a mouthwatering proposition for Steve Bruce with Lansbury, Amartey and Conor Hourihane all options in Midfield with the added ability for Amartey to play at full-back to provide cover for El-Mohammady and Ritchie De Laet. Should Aston Villa succeed in bringing the pair to the midlands it certainly will be a happy new year for Aston Villa players and fans alike.