Paul Lambert would love to sign Javier Hernandez and Lewis Holtby this summer, as he looks to improve his current Aston Villa options.
It has been another hugely frustrating campaign for the Midlands giants, who have struggled against relegation in each of their last three seasons. A 4-1 defeat at Swansea City last weekend ensures Villa fans are in for another nail-biting finale, as their side are just three points above the drop zone although they have a game in hand.
A home win against Hull City on Saturday would virtually clinch their survival, but Lambert has already begun planning for next season by identifying a number of potential signings. And should be manage to pull off deals for the players being linked in the tabloids on Thursday, it would certainly be a welcome boost for his squad.
According to the Daily Star, the Villa boss has set his sights on a deal for Hernandez. The Mexican has cut a frustrating figure at Manchester United this term, as he has fallen to fourth choice in the pecking order behind Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck, leaving him to spend much of the campaign on the sidelines.
Of the 33 appearances the 25-year-old has made in all competitions this season, only 11 have come from a starting position. Hernandez will be down to the final two years of his contract during the summer, and United would want around £12million to consider letting him go. However, considering the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and UEFA Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid are also thought to be interest in signing the striker, it would be quite some coup if Lambert is able to convince him to move to Villa.
The Scot may have better luck in luring Holtby from Spurs. The German international made a big impact when he arrived at White Hart Lane from Schalke in January 2013, but he has fallen down the pecking order this season and joined Fulham on loan in January. He could, though, be given a fresh opportunity at his parent club next season, when it is expected that Tim Sherwood will be replaced as head coach of the Londoners.
But judging by a report in The Telegraph, this is unlikely to deter Villa from making a bid for his signature when the window reopens. It is claimed that the 23-year-old midfielder is one of Lambert’s top targets and an offer of £6million will be tabled, which would represent a handsome profit on the £1.8million Tottenham reportedly paid to sign him.
The same newspaper also claims the Midlands club will try and lure Joleon Lescott back to his roots. The Birmingham-born defender is out of contract at Manchester City in the summer, and with no new deal forthcoming, he will be available on a free transfer. However, the 31-year-old’s salary of around £75,000 could pose a problem for Villa, as will the interest of Turkish side Besiktas who can also offer him Champions League football.