By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

22nd Jul, 2023 | 7:10pm

Dan Bardell: Jeremy Doku interest may be 'smokescreen' for Aston Villa transfer pursuit

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports journalist Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

Aston Villa’s interest in Rennes star Jeremy Doku could be a “smokescreen” in their bid to secure Moussa Diaby, according to Dan Bardell.

Fabrizio Romano tweeted (16 July) that Villa had added the 21-year-old to their winger shortlist in case a deal for Diaby does not materialise, but that the Bayer Leverkusen winger is their top attacking target.

Villa are in the market for more attacking talent this window and held interest in Harvey Barnes, but look set to miss out on the 25-year-old to Newcastle United [Birmingham Live].

However, Bardell has claimed that while Doku is an “electric” option for Unai Emery’s side, he claims he might not be a huge upgrade for Villa and speculates that he is perhaps a pawn in a wider game to seal Diaby’s signature.

Speaking exclusively to Villa News, Bardell said: “Villa may use things as a smokescreen to try and hurry the Diaby deal and sometimes clubs will leak things to the press saying they’ll turn their attention to another player if they don’t get the fee they’re after. I do wonder if there’s a bit of that going on.

“I think Villa will go in for two attackers, a winger and more of a number ten or false 9 type of striker.

“Doku has a bit of a questionable injury record over the last few years, but I remember him in Euro 2020. I remember thinking this guy is electric and I’ve always kept an eye on him.

“He scored five or six goals last season in Ligue 1 and he’s quite adept with both his right and left foot. He came in with a few nice assists too, so I think he would be an interesting option.

“I don’t think he’ll be the number one target. I feel like he’s still raw and Villa need a finished article. I’ve said the same about Willy Gnonto, he looks like he’ll be a good player but he’s just a bit raw and not ready to play a host of games.

“With Villa’s signings that they’re making at the moment, they need a step up from what they already have and close to being the finished article, not someone still developing their game.”

In other Aston Villa news, Alan Hutton claims Newcastle winger is a ‘maverick’ and backs him to be a game-changer if he moved to Villa Park.