It’s just 48 hours since Steve Bruce rode into town as the new sheriff at Aston Villa, but reports suggest the experienced gaffer has already set his sights on a January transfer target in the form of Benfica’s Victor Lindelof.
The Swedish centre-back has been linked with a move to England throughout 2016, with potential suitors ranging from Middlesbrough to Manchester United.
However, with those deals having come to nothing, Bruce could well lure one of European football’s brightest prospects to Villa Park and boost the Birmingham club’s promotion chances.
Despite his young years, the 22-year-old boasts plenty of pedigree, having impressed against the likes of Bayern Munich in Europe, as well as being a key part of Benfica’s Primeira Liga title triumph last season.
Physically strong, excellent in the air and a classy passer of the ball, the beefy Swede has continued to boost his reputation this season, with Benfica conceding a mere four goals in their first seven league outings.
Lindelof’s attacking threat will also have caught Bruce’s eye in midweek, with the former Vasteras SK man showing a real striker’s instinct as he netted a half-volley in Sweden’s 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Bulgaria.
As for Villa snapping up the defender, there’s little chance that owner Dr Tony Xia would baulk at the price tag.
Transfermarkt.co.uk estimate Lindelof’s market value at £10.2m – significantly less than both Ross McCormack (£12.1m) and Jonathan Kodjia (£10.9m) cost the Villans during the summer.
For now though, Bruce will have to make do with his current crop as Villa host Wolverhampton Wanderers for the first time since 2011.
It’s 10/11 for the men in claret and blue to win, while a Wolves victory is priced at 3/1 and 12/5 for a draw.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing