Aston Villa are plotting a bid for Bordeaux striker Sekou Mara.
What’s the word?
That’s according to French publication Foot Mercato, who claim that three English clubs are interested in the forward.
Alongside Aston Villa, Leeds and Newcastle have also suggested they would want to sign Mara.
The player is estimated to cost around €10m (£8.5m) and no proposals have currently been submitted.
Any deal does look unlikely, however, with reports since emerging that Southampton have agreed a fee to sign him.
Imagine him and Watkins
This tricky teenager enjoyed a first proper year of top-flight football last season, making 26 appearances for a Bordeaux side that finished rock bottom of Ligue 1.
Clearly brimming with too much talent to be playing outside of top-flight football, Mara will look to find a place where he can continue to hone his raw talents and hopefully be nurtured into a star of the future.
Across the league campaign, he managed a respectable six goals and an average SofaScore rating of 6.77. Whilst seemingly unspectacular, at just 19 years old this represents a remarkable foundation to build upon.
Perhaps if Steven Gerrard was to operate him alongside Ollie Watkins who can thrive off a striker partner, both would benefit from some company up top.
Watkins averages 2.68 aerials won per 90, meaning that having another forward close by would likely benefit from his knockdowns or flick-ons.
Mara on the other hand, who was labelled a “brilliant young talent” by journalist Zack Lowy, is full of enthusiasm and running.
Should Aston Villa sign Sekou Mara?
He ranked in the 96th percentile for pressures, outlining him as an outstanding candidate to lead the press. If Gerrard could mould him into the kind of striker he desires, with a work rate and attitude such as the one Mara already possesses, he is sure to go right to the top.
Not only this but the Frenchman ranked in the 89th percentile for shots total per 90. Clearly brimming with confidence, the quality will only come with time. If he is able to squeeze plenty of shots away now, once he starts hitting the target he may never stop.
Mara and Watkins could become a duo that stays together at Villa for a long time, and Gerrard should swoop to ensure no other clubs can invest early in this hard-working youngster destined for big things.
AND, in other news: Forget Carney: Gerrard can save NSWE millions with Aston Villa’s 20 y/o “goal machine”.